Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crushes No. 8,000,001 and 8,000,002

Wow... a double header (when you are old like me a double header is one night followed by the next night) of intense fun, amazing experiences, and incredible music. NOTE: I'm saving my artistic admiration of Misprint Thursday and her Olive Art exhibit for the Bistro Blog. Music... back to the music... it ALWAYS does my soul good. And, yes, I get little crushes then on the musicians. How can you not?

I'll start with a new SL find I think is amazing... CQ Bravin. CQ is relatively new to SL but not new to music. He has simply found SL to be a great forum to perform. I am glad he thinks so because his contributions are incredible. His original selections combine his acoustical guitar with incredibly woven lyrics and melodies. He is of the genre known as "Indie Folk Rock" and calls himself "The Colorful Quiet." His contributions in Second Life are equally incredible. You can find a video shot at another club (unfortunately -why didn't I think of doing this!!) but nonetheless it gives you some reference of how amazing he is. Take a watch.

Sorry CQ... didn't mean to get the microphone right in your face. We will have you back and I will get better shots - promise!! :) onward now to other crush information ... and a cup of coffee should help me power out the rest of this post...

Hours later... I return... sorry about that!

The other crush? Well... none other than the amazingly handsome and fantastically talented Mr. John Mayer. I decided last night... as I sweated and sweated (ok ... really I glowed right? isn't that what girls do?) that I am officially a Phoenician again. My 4th summer now in Phoenix after living in Flagstaff all those years... I've adjusted, acclimatised or whatever else you call it. I can sit, dance, rock out, soak in all those fantastic things you do at an outdoor concert in JULY in PHOENIX. WOOT! 115 degrees? NO PROBLEM. Ok.. not really.. that's a lie... there was a breeze and the sun was going down... so it was probably only 105 :)

Anyway... John Mayer was the main attraction. Colbie Cailliat was the warm up. There was another artist before her I'm ashamed to admit I didn't remember his name. I hate to not recognize all the musicians. He sounded a lot like Paul Simon. Colbie was great. Very cute, almost shy on stage. She told a sweet story about taking an acting class to get over her fear of performing. She shared she didn't realize when she started writing songs that she would eventually have to perform them live for people! And her "Bubbly" song - she wrote that 1 night using the 4 chords she had just learned from a friend on the guitar. Gotta love the humanness of it all :)

But John Mayer was beyond words. Incredibly talented. Gorgeous even with short short hair. Beautiful to look at and listen to. His voice, his music. Wow. He too talked about the heat. He said the heat put him in a frame of mind for blues. Can that guy jam! He wondered aloud how Guns n Roses ever handled the heat and then proceeded to do a fantastic Sweet Child of Mine version in which he sang a line to Jen... *sigh*. He thanked the audience for being so accepting of his craft and for being willing to enjoy whatever he offered us. He commented how cool it was that he could experiment with something that day earlier with the band and it could evolve into something on the stage that night. He called it "organic." Honestly, I'm sure there were a few of us who could have stayed a few more hours. Thank you Mr. Mayer. My soul is a little lighter today... tired... but lighter in a good way.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Could these results even be remotely correct?

Staying up late tonight I did some blog wandering that is way overdue. I ran across Bab's blog and it got me into trouble. Frankly, these results frighten me. Perhaps it was high time I stared deeply into the abyss... could this really be me? LOL!
You Are A Vampire

You have a real thirst for bliss (this can't be referring to Blissie - can it? LOL), and you consider yourself a true hedonist.

And you're not afraid to walk alone in life, if it means getting what you truly crave. (borrowing a song from Bigd's repertoir, "I walk alone")

You truly enjoy entrancing people. Not to mention the ensuing pleasures of the flesh. (have you seen the clothes Aeryn has me wearing these days?)

Your tastes have been called decadent and bizarre. You usually give in to your temptations, no matter how primal (mmmmmmmmmmm ice cream! mmmm chocolate!)

Your greatest power: Your flawless ability to seduce and charm

Your greatest weakness: Human flesh

You play well with: Werewolves (do I know any werewolves?)

OK... so then... I set off to find out what Liss had to say. I haven't visited her blog in a while either. Good Lord! Check out these results!

Your Hillbilly Name Is...

Molly Sue Houston

Thank goodness I kept reading though... Liss had one other that redeemed me so I could rest easy... this one sounds most like me! WHEW!

You Are Fun Sexy

You're funny, quirky, cute, and sassy.

Guys always have a great time with you, and that alone is sexy.

You've got an upbeat, optimistic spirit that totally shines through.

Any guy would be crazy to turn you down!

Creative New Beginnings

Sometimes you can find enjoyment in new beginnings when there is no longer excitement and passion in the same ol' same ol'. Recently, Bigd and I went on a renting rampage within SL on Marco Island. We had just moved a little over a month ago and had a housewarming. Things were settled and the new place is just how we like it. For now, I can't think of any more things to buy for Tortuga Isle... but give it time ;)

So... where to next? Why not a business? Marco Island is being managed now by Jenda Starbrook and there were several open shops and 2 story apartments. One particular spot on the end offered 3 stories by combining the shop and the apartment floors. We hemmed and haaaahed and asked several for their opinion. We had Jenda come over and talk about knocking out walls if we just stuck to 1 floor. Then, we took the plunge and rented all 3! The idea was to create something new and different within the SL communities we currently hang out and enjoy. The idea was to offer another reason to come to Marco Island and help traffic to the surrounding businesses. We figured it also couldn't hurt to help Jenda out and rent a spot or two.

Art. A great reason to enjoy SL. Music another great reason to enjoy SL. Fun non-caloric food and beverage of all kinds - how can you NOT enjoy that in SL! So the idea was born: a fine art, fine dining experience. Borday Moo and Blissie Boucher kicked around names with us all afternoon after the idea had been refined some through conversations with Parker and Joonie. We definitely didn't want to run a club scene nightly. We wanted a nice place to hang out. We wanted a place and a reason to host special events. We wanted to offer something unique to the world of SL. Some wonderful table creations from "IntimateLife - Frisky Designs For The Romantic" also helped carve out the niche. (don't you worry - they are PG) These tables are the kind where you sit, choose your place setting, choose the ambiance, and the menu from meals to beverages. The couch in the bar/lounge level holds some wonderful abilities for large groups to laugh and pose for pictures. Holding 9 with a hidden 10th spot, the challenge seems to be in finding willing participants!

We hope Bistro Olive will become a place for people to enjoy time with good friends. We also hope people will make the place somewhere for special celebrations. The main dining room on the top level offers exquisite views of the ocean and the grounds of Marco Island, as well as the Savoy Jazz Club. There are some special spots to toast or cuddle the one you love. There is room for dancing and places for enjoying drinks with friends. The gallery will feature all sorts of art on the ground floor for purchase.

I am so excited about Misprint Thursday and her artistry! She has agreed to be our debut featured resident artist and has done amazing things. If nothing else, stopping by in a free moment to visit the Bistro and see her work before it is gone will be well worth your while. She has created one-of-a-kind sculptures and interactive art that are displayed on all 3 levels. We will honor her work in a special Grand Opening Reception on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 8:30 pm SLT! SL/RL musician CQ Bravin will be there to perform acoustical guitar/coffee-house rock style music from 8:30 - 9:30 pm SLT. He is also one to not be missed!

PLEASE consider yourself invited and mark your calendars to come! We are looking forward to all that is ahead with this new adventure and appreciate everyone's participation and openness and willingness to help. If you know of an artist who we should contact to be on our calendar of featured artists at Bistro Olive, please send me a note in-world or an email. If you know of a musical performer who would be a fantastic compliment to a featured artist reception at Bistro Olive, please also contact us! Bigd Flanagan or I will be on the look-out for both over the next few months. We hope to offer new artists every 2-3 weeks, and the opportunity to have a reception event as well during their showing.

Thank you in advance for supporting our endeavor. Woot!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Paths... Forks... Silly Foreigners...

Life has a funny way of surprising you. The unexpected happens and it can make you shake and scratch your head in some ways wondering how it all came about. I stared back at myself in the mirror today... closely examining the little lines starting to form around my eyes and my mouth - my laugh lines as my mom would say. I looked at my hair and wished for a haircut. I looked at my body and wished for a personal trainer and a quick trip to Thailand for a few enhancements (LOL!). Age kinda catches up with you. One day your mom's hand just appears out of your sleeve and you are going... where did that come from.

Then, in an instant, we can be transported back to feelings and thoughts that we had almost 20 years ago and wonder how those memories can be so real when things have changed so much and I have become a totally different (hopefully improved) person since then.

I took a path almost 20 years ago that I was afraid to go down. I was in a really serious relationship -really my first love - and he told me we were destined to go separate ways - at least for a while. We were sitting at the top of the amazing Peaks I was just at with my family last weekend. He loved Phoenix but was off to see the world. He said he would never be happy just living in one place. He said he could see why I loved Flagstaff and could see me being a mom and a teacher and just loving every minute of that. Although it wouldn't be until months later that we actually broke up, at the time, I think that was the foreshadowing.. that was the chink in the armor of our relationship. He had been my very best friend for years. He had been my inspiration and confident. I thought I would curl up and die when we said goodbye for the last time. We both cried that last day we saw each other and finally ended what needed to be ended.

When someone is that ingrained in your heart, it doesn't seem as though you ever forget them. I lost an incredible amount of weight after our break up. I got in really good shape excessively working out to get out my anger. I went on a streak of dating several guys - none I could feel anything about - because my heart was so scarred. (I looked really good I might add but somehow haven't ever found a way to look like that again... given how I got there... that might be a good thing!)

Any relationship after that became part of my goal checklist. It wasn't really about love. It was about fun, laughter, etc but it was also about auditioning husbands. I wasn't going to get left again like that. I wasn't going to be old and not married and never have kids. I lived in fear of being alone.

Funny thing is... Dave kind of happened into my life that same way the drummer had years before. I wasn't planning to date him. In fact, I was involved with someone else at the time who was very much on my goal checklist. Dave captured my heart and I saw in his eyes something I hadn't seen in anyone else's other than that silly guy years earlier. I have written lots about him and our marriage and our kids in my blog so I won't digress now - you all you read my blog know how much I love him (and he knows too).

But... that life thing. That moment on the Peaks years ago all came flooding back to me with a simple email I got earlier in the week. The subject line read "What the FUCK!" Sorry for the profanity. I have to laugh - I don't think I have ever gotten an email with that subject line before. Anyway... we had a short chat after that on gmail that went something like this:

K: pinches you to see if it is REALLY the Bryan I used to know, lol
B: yes it is ms kim, What up??!!!
K: how are you ?? :) so you are with the foo fighters? are you hot shit now... OR WHAT? (well warming up for them i mean)
B: i'm actually sitting under the stage (in my dressing room) there are playing there last two songs
K: nice! you suck
B: i walked off stage- took a hot shower-had a massage- another shower-dinner - now drinking
K: your life... is so... difficult :P
B: this tour is fun - most suck
K: so are you touring with bluebird?
B: nope a band called year long disaster
K: oh god -what a name LOL is that your band too?
B: there drummer is in third eye blind?? he's in japan
K: i love third eye blind ;)
B: it's a favor
K: nice!
B: i wish you could see where i'm at - dave just walked off stage - im online - 15,0000 peps screaming while we're talking
K: i would love to!! but my RL is so crazy now though Bryan ;) we have 4 kids
B: of course you do - i knew you would
K: :P
B: that's great!!!!! lol I don't wanna be sitting in dave g's dressing room when he walks off stage - i think i godda go
B: time to do shots party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to share. I just felt like this was a rare glimpse into a life and experience I had longed for so much years ago when my heart was breaking. And yet, now, it feels so foreign, so far away, so remote from what my day to day existence is. And, I am so happy to have my husband and kids and career. It is challenging, it is safe, it brings me joy. I know his life brings him joy too, and challenges him. It is so incredible to be happy for someone like that... someone who broke my heart into a million pieces but is successful now and doing what he loves.

Each day...little and big decisions carry us to the place we are today. It goes back to that glass half full thing. It also goes back to the fact that even though things are sometimes super hard and you can't see the forest from the trees if you just keep walking, and keep praying, and keep on keeping on, the master plan of what is supposed to unfold for your life on this planet will happen. Blessings abound in ways we can't even imagine.

Talking to my drummer... he will always be my drummer even though that was years ago... made me so thankful for the things he taught me back then and the paths we have each lead since.

Cheers to forks in the road, paths less traveled and foreign ways of life so different from our own. Old? Maybe I am getting old... but it is a good kinda old. The old that makes my heart feel happy and complete... satisfied and full.. and thankful for that full crazy crew that is my day to day life in 2008. BUT either way I am no longer that broken and sad college girl without dreams from so long ago.

Cheers B! And cheers to dreams that sometimes don't come true and all the great things you have going on in your crazy rock n roll life, B!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Vacation Thoughts

My mom has this very cool ability on her mac-book to create these scrapbook like photo pages with text. I did this to accompany a whole collage of photos from our fishing expedition. It was just a fishing expedition for small pond fish - but it was fun.

Here is the scoop I sent to some family and friends. I thought it would be worth saving in my blog as well :)

So is it hard to imagine what this family does when they are removed from the brutal desert heat and stripped of all technology? Broken blackberry, no Internet, PS2 and SecondLife are worlds away...

With the help of Grandpa John and Grandpa Catherine, we made it through the first afternoon without a even a twitch. Noah easily earned the trophy for most fish caught - and not just sunfish, but tiny blue gill too. Simon earned the prize for noisiest fisherman. If he could have scared them out of the pond, we wouldn't have had enough nets ready. Zachary earned the prize for the farthest casting. That kid is ready for bigger lakes or streams, most definitely... maybe he is a fly fisherman in the making...

And Rachel you ask? Armed with her Disney Princess fishing rod and Barbie life jacket she asked that NO ONE tell she touched worms... and kinda liked it. She named the worms and chastised Noah for feeding Sarah to one of his 7 catches. Fortunately Cindy and Alexis were still safe in the plastic bait containers. She enjoyed touching the fish and examining her catch too. Impressive eh?

I think ultimately the trick to vacations is leaving before you can't stand it and have to go home. Tonight when we leave to go back to the Valley it will feel like it is too soon. The air is so clean. The monsoon rainshowers intermittently throughout the day and night are beyond refreshing. The views of the 10,000+ feet peaks are spectacular. But... it will be good to be home too.

OHHHH AND my favorite new store ever? Life is Good! Now... does that surprise you in any way? LOL... Stop by their website and see how cool their stuff is if you don't have one near you. Dare I even mention they have a "Half Full" t-shirt?

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Secret of Life

So... cleaning up the clutter never gets dull. Hard to anticipate what kind of gem you'll find sifting through papers, preschool art, old math homework, and bills. Would you ever imagine I find the meaning of life? NO WONDER I have been so full of question, constantly unsatisfied and stressed!

According to the British Medical Journal, the citizens of Denmark are happier than their European counterparts, even though they rate high for the kind of factors typically affiliated with a LOW happiness rank, like bad weather, bad food, and high alcohol consumption. What's their secret? Low expectations.

So... I'm going to chew on that for a while. I have a workshop this afternoon. I work from home this morning. I'm getting my kids ready to head out of town early with my dad. I have to clean the house. Maybe I just need to shrug it off and just show up? I am not sure I know how to interpret this. I am not sure I am even wired genetically to have low expectations - but dammit - if THAT is the secret to happiness I am all for it!

One other random thought... do you think players on World of Warcraft worry as much as SL Residents about leaving the game forever? Just an early morning thing to ponder while you plan your day with low expectations. WAIT... cancel cancel... you don't plan your day if you have low expectations... DO you? I'm new to this... I need some help! LOL!

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mindshift for Pollyanna

One thing I will never understand is why people would look to something good, look to something that is successful, and instead of trying to facilitate further success by collaboration, insist on destroying the good and success. Ego is a really horrible thing. Ego that is centered on a bloated sense of self-importance can't be an element that encourages long term success. I suppose it is a piggyback on my thoughts yesterday from the "I" in the word TEAM. People like this may see themselves as team players - they might even refer to themselves as such - when really they are power hungry ogres.

I sat in today for my boss on a conference call with some of these people. I am reminded of the work pain and agony we went through a year ago - and have been working through ever since. It was a good experience for me in that it allowed me to see our business practices through her eyes. I have been frustrated many times by her instant rage and for once, today, saw how challenging it has been for her, as our leader, to deal with those power hungry ogres outside our organzation. I have been allowed the luxury to move forward - focus on new challenges, and immerse myself in the culture that is the larger organization I am so excited to be a part of.

The people on this call today are people I used to deal with some weeks on a daily basis. I saw them previously as allies in my work with educators and technology. Granted, the lense that I view them with has been colored, fogged, even cracked, because they chose to remove us from the team and do it without us. I suppose it is indictative of education - you always feel as an educator you can build a bigger, better wheel from the ground up. And, coming now from a non-profit business world I realize there is much we can learn from those who came before us - and those working on the wheel as we speak - WHY build it all from scratch.

Some people seem to see power and title and self-importance as the ultimate means to an end. Those people are so deluded. The real way to bring about change and make a difference in the world around us is to build up others around you, foster the seeds of good ideas, recognize the value that was there before you, and collaborate to make things even better. The days of the Roman and British empires conquering the world are antiquated. 21st century thoughts and skills require us to collaborate, acknowledge differences, and build on the power of the collective. Why is it that these people, these so-called leaders don't see that value in the latter?

Its hard to be a Pollyanna when you are reconfronted with the arrogance of those in leadership roles. It is infuriating. It is difficult to decide whether to contribute and try to bring about change - even if small - amongst people who decided you were of no value - or to simply move on.

Still looking for that "I" in TEAM. Maybe it is something related to the terms in cyberspace - like iTeam ;) OR maybe it still had no place and as a Pollyanna it is time to move on... and spread those cheerful good ideas and work-your-fingers-to-the bone-for-a-good-cause kinda effort on to places that value it.

Monday, July 14, 2008


When I was little, my mom had a way of telling other adults we were cranky and needing sleep by spelling out the word tired. Somehow I suppose she expected us to not know what she was saying and she would be able to wisk us off to bed without knowing what hit us. As we got older, naturally, it wasn't hard to know what those letters spelled. In fact, we would hear her use the same trick with our younger brother, and my sister and I knew exactly what was going on.

Years later, we use those letters to describe ourselves and our own children. Being so exhausted that you are to the point of tears or simply have no sense of humor left and are beyond C-R-A-N-K-Y means you are T-I-R-E-D. I feel like I need a t-shirt today with those letters on them. I am most definitely T-I-R-E-D this Monday morning.

I am practicing everything I know this week with The Secret and postive thinking and glass half full. I am having trouble seeing through my calendar and not running screaming for the hills. It can never really be a good thing when you are looking forward to Tuesday... of the FOLLOWING week... for a break and some sanity... can it?

I've thought a lot about busy-ness in RL and SL. I wrote a lot a few posts ago about breaks from SL. I, myself, am approaching a mandatory SL break. I can't decide with that thought whether to be relieved for a break or start the mourning process now. At least there will be email to keep in touch - but somehow that is not the same. Something about those silly pixels.

I spent all weekend getting Bistro Olive @ Marco Island ready to open on July 24 and had an amazing amount of fun doing it. Blissie had her shopping cart out and hauled even the heaviest of items with me. Bigd was more than willing to hang in there and practice positioning things and have long conversations with people about details of the business launch (not his favorite thing to do on SL - thank you D!). Parker shared her ultra top secret search engine strategies. And, Joonie interviewed our first artist, Misprint Tuesday, extensively over lunch on Saturday. Crighton came by after his 8 million hour work weekend and took a tour. Borday and Blissie dined there at least twice and 1 other photographer, Freedom Delgado, came by to consider contributing her art in a few weeks.

It was theraputic. Being creative and being immersed in retail therapy, for me, silly as it is, is a huge helping of R and R. I needed that after a marathon RL trip to PBS the previous week. But, in looking at my calendar, I realize, I will be on mandatory SL time off from this Saturday until the following Tuesday, July 22. RL work is most definitely something this week that I need to pace myself for and will take me and my family to our old stomping grounds in Northern Arizona this weekend, through Tuesday, when I conduct a workshop for preschool teachers on Tuesday evening. Being without internet connection while I am up there is where the mandatory time off comes in.

Sure, I will have my Blackberry. I can blog I suppose from my phone. I can try to steal the neighbors' wireless with my laptop if they have unprotected connections anywhere nearby. But, my mom has been up there all summer and wireless has not been available this year for the first time. I suppose people are finally wise to the fact that bandwidth quickly disappears when people like me are nearby to hop on their connection.

So... it is with heavy eyelids and a few big yawns that I drag myself back to my desk today for a mini-marathon of meetings and to do items before my boss leaves for her own vacation on Tuesday evening this week. As with getting ready for any mandatory time off, I will have to make sure I have the Bistro properly watched over and details all underway for the grand opening reception on Thursday, July 24. For some reason, I know with confidence that Blissie will keep the food well stocked and may even agree to go on her famous AFK breaks in the gallery. I'm hopeful there will be some traffic - but even if there isn't - that is ok. It is more about the fun I can make of it, rather than the destination of events and crowded sims.

I'm T-I-R-E-D but my glass is beyond half full. It is going to be a good week. Things will get accomplished one step at a time. I'm hopeful people will still love me whether or not I'm tired and remember that I try hard to be a team player. I am so fortunate to have a group of close friends that realize there really is no letter "I" in the word TEAM. Hugs to my team members who carry me through ;) whether it is late night carosel rides, sneaky May pole games or crazed running shopping trips on SL, or laughter and silliness in RL. I couldn't do it without you!

And on that note... my Monday morning fog has lifted and I am off and running. Keep this in mind... I think I might use this thought as my mantra over the next few days:
"Do what you love, love what you do, and deliver more than you promise." – Harvey Mackay

Sunday, July 13, 2008

SNL... Good for a laugh the next day.. .even a week later... on a rerun!

NBC's Saturday Night Live is totally worth staying up for again. Even the reruns make me laugh - and I think that must be the true test of humor... if you can laugh through it the second or third time. The only thing that bums me out is I have to laugh alone because everyone else is asleep so I find myself giggling in bed while those around me snore. Ok.. so it was a little more than a giggle - it was a big laugh out loud. The whole show went along these lines... as good or better than this preview!

See what you think. Would this make you laugh? Yes, I was a captive audience with Jon Bon Jovi as the host - but honestly - the writing and the sketches were great. I'm still looking for the opening sketch to share. I blame it for drawing me in.

Also there are these shorts now on SNL. 9 out of 10 times they are hillarious. They are so absurd you have to laugh. Laughter and violence? Is that some odd oxymoron of therapy? Oh well... throw it into the odd tossed salad mix that is my blogger post today.

And... honestly... how can you NOT love this amazing voice and beautiful lyrics and beyond handsome singing man? Sigh... :) I couldn't embed so you have to promise you'll click through and take a look and a listen - YouTube - Bon Jovi - Someday I'll be Saturday Night.
Read the lyrics...
Bon Jovi Lyrics
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night Lyrics
The acoustic version from SNL is just as great a sound, or even better than the original from '95. But - the words, and the video content from '95 has huge connection for me to the hardships people are facing now in 2008. Cheers to the video and music and technology that archives our 21st Century lives and connects us. Reminds me really of what a pendulum history is. The old is new again. The struggle is universally human. And... ultimately... laughter and music and prayer carries us through... every time. Don't worry- you're safe - I won't embed "Livin on a Prayer" ;)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Secret

I know Oprah set this into motion a little over a year ago. Every once and a while I find it really valuable to revisit the principles and take time to reflect on what kind of attraction I am using to bring things into my life. I'm really thankful for all things these days. Life is extra busy and hectic. Finances are tight. BUT love is abundant and family and friends are more important than ever.

HOWEVER, I need to use the core principles of The Secret and adjust what I just wrote. Life is busy and completely productive and I'm excited for all the opportunity coming my way right now. I have plenty of time to do all that I need to do and want to do. Finances are abundant. We have all the money we need to be happy and enjoy life. That suitcase of cash is just around the corner - I imagine I'll find it any day! (heehee) Take a look and see what it means for you.

I thought for my friends in particular (including the ones in my own home) might need a healthy dose of glass half full. Cheers to abundance and good things headed for all of us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Sweet Rachel... and other in-flight thoughts

So flying across the country always makes me stressed up until the point I get through airport security. Once I do, I figure I’m all ok. This time I was doing all carry on luggage which does make me stressed about fitting it all in the plane – but I figure I’ve made it past the hardest hurdles: packing without too much kid freak out, cleaning up the house without too much craziness and mess making behind me, walking out the door without too much kid freak out, and then driving through rush hour traffic to get to the airport.

Today I ran into 3 of the 5. Rachel, my baby girl, cried the whole time I finished getting ready this morning at 5 am and packing up my last minute items. She clung to me while I straightened my hair and did my makeup – just sobbing. I had told her she could go out on a special date tonight with Daddy – just she and Daddy. Dave and I had talked about him taking her for ice cream and then they could bring some home for the boys. She thought that was a horrible idea and sobbed about that too. She kept telling me she didn’t want me to go on vacation. I actually see my work travel in almost 95% of all cases far from a vacation. Packed from morning until late night – in a different time zone ends up being far from my idea of a vacation. If I could go to bed early or sleep in late, maybe it would qualify it somewhat.

I had slacked last night on my clean up plans so I didn’t score any points there. I hate leaving the house looking like a bomb went off – especially with my dad coming to help. I know they all say they don’t care – and the bathrooms and kitchen are clean – but the clutter is so brutal. I had done the kitchen but not the rest before I went to bed last night. I have no one to blame but myself and apologized for not doing my share. 

Then I hopped on the freeway – leaving plenty of time – only to come to a grinding hault easily 25 miles away from my destination because of a 4 car accident involving highway patrol that was blocking all lanes. They had literally closed down the freeway eastbound. I always drive in the far left lanes because I go straight through. Silly me. The traffic gods smiled upon me though – and I did the blinker on, thank you wave, across 4 lanes to exit at the end of the triangle painted on the road for the exit lane. I maneuvered around my obstacles and made it with plenty of time to spare.

A woman and her son ran to the gate and stopped beside me as we were all boarding. She said “Oh my god –it took us 2 hours to get here because of the accident on the freeway!” She was so stressed and breathless. I told her I completely understood and she had thankfully made it in time. Just confirmed that things somehow do work out the way you need them to if you ask for a little supernatural assistance – seriously.

So here I am – no movie in flight – no sound working I guess. I figured you all were a captive audience and I pulled out my laptop to blog. I did a little imaginary shopping on skymall for everyone in my family and most of my friends. All the things you never knew you needed but now can’t live without are in skymall. You know – that special storage system for your garage. The do it yourself acupuncture kit. The in home exercise gym that folds up to be the size of a folding chair. The indoor dog mat to let dogs have a bathroom spot in the house (ewwww!). Honestly – what more could one ask for? So – my work can wait. I have shopping to do  And don’t think I didn’t think of shopping for you!

My thoughts are with my babies back home. The mommy guilt is at an all time high. I await the words again that Rachel said to me yesterday so sweetly and innocently, “Mommy I need you to come home so you can hold and snuggle me.” They echo in my mind as I close my eyes and wish all them blessings and quick safe returns to my arms. It will be Friday evening before we all know it.

This song is one I heard the other day on the radio - no video online yet. I dedicate it to my sweet baby girl at home, her 3 brothers and their brave daddy taking care of all of them while I'm away.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Second Life is an experience. It is a tool. It is a game. It is a place for wish fulfillment and imagination. For everyone who creates an avitar, it has a different expectation. Amazingly enough, it can be each of those things. Second Life has the ability to offer each a unique experience depending on what the individual intended it to be.

It is a place of business and commerce. It is a place for collaboration and education. It is a place for creativity. It is a place fo recreation. It can be a blend of any and all. It most definitely is an experience that evolves with you.

I have been in SL now for a little over a year. With my background in online professional development, I created an avitar and began my explorations with education in mind. I had been involved with Stanford/NSF's TappedIn and enjoyed the experiences I had there. I had participated in online conferences such as the Illinois Online conference for educators. I have designed multiple online course environments for educators in Moodle and Blackboard. I have participated in hundreds of webinars and been an avid user of instant message. I understood SL to be an amazing combination of all these things. And, over the past year and a few, I have learned it is all those forms most definitely. Those, and more.

The ISTE sim and Eduisland were my first stops after leaving Orientation Island. I was akward and noobish of course, but I didn't know any different. I was fascinated but clumsy and figured I could take it or leave it. If I had trouble, how could teachers who struggled with other online experiences ever grow in SL professionally. I left my avitar and went back to the other forms of professional development I was familiar with. Then, a funny thing called summer vacation happened.

Dave had also made an avitar that day and explored with me. He too let his just sit until close to his birthday when I came home from work one day to find him telling me he wanted to just get Lindens for his birthday and have a premium SL account. Yes, it was Bigd that pulled me back into SL with a new set of glasses on. He had found some rock n roll hangouts where you could dance and had met people from Europe. He had enjoyed his explorations and wanted me to try. I laughed at the new interest thinking how he had been obsessed with fantasy league baseball online each summer prior and I figured this could be something new we could try together.

You know the rest of the story really. I have blogged numerous entries over the past 6 months about my journeys in SL. I have met fantastic people. I have made friendships that will be a part of my life for a long time (imaginary or not, heehee). I have explored virtual replicas of places I may never travel to in RL. I have attended so many parties and events that my social life in SL can almost been seen as exhausting. For a busy working mom with 4 kids and a great husband and career, I live vicariously through my avitar. You would laugh - but it is fun. It is selfishly fun and that was something my life never had before. I'm a fixer and a doer - and my life up until this point - my RL life was about doing just that - for anyone and everyone in my life - personal and professional. SL became a place just for me. Better than Diner Dash, I didn't have to just obsess over a higher score on the screen, I could explore and meet, I could laugh and I could enjoy music. I honestly had forgotten how much I just love to soak up good music.

I have experienced friendships and heartache. I think that is always involved when people come together. Sociologically and psychologically you can easily dissect the process. There is a norming process whereby all ways of interacting are defined - formally and informally - the social order is established, roles are set. This happens whether we want it to or not. There is a storming process that follows. This also happens whether we want it to or not. The social order is challenged. People decide they are not happy in their current roles and people get restless. People readjust. Through this process - sounding as analytical as I can - people's feelings get hurt, people show who they truly are, the newness wears off, and people either grow closer together or farther apart. Depending on the individuals involved, people can form stronger bonds, or dissolve them and move on to start the whole process over again.

It helps me to sometimes step back from my Second Life and realize this process, as cut and dry as it can be in black and white, occurs whether you are a human being or an avitar. It is simply how we are wired. It is because we have hearts and brains and the will to make decisions. For some, they decide it is best to walk away from SL. Understandably. First lives are packed fuller than ever these days. When something doesn't offer satistfaction and enjoyment any longer, why continue to punish yourself? Just like you would make a decision in your first life to no longer work at a certain place or attend a certain church or live in a specific city, people move on to reintroduce change into their lives and improve their status or release a hurtful force in their lives.

Everytime I have experienced a friend or colleague (many of whom I built close friendships with) move on, I have tried to be happy for them. It was because they were moving on and into something they perceived as better. How can you not be happy for someone making a decision like that? If they are truly your friend, you want the best for them. I would be lying though to say it doesn't make my own heart hurt a little. I let people in. I let them close to me. I care about them. Overly sensitive, probably so. I become very attached. Change is hard. I am the kind to work through that norming and storming process and come out on the other side closer to those I am friends with. When I learn of people leaving, I am filled with saddness but I realize it is for a reason. Unlike my husband who jokes about friends being overrated and when we move those friends are now dead to him, I keep them in my heart. I know he does too but you have to laugh at the emotional preservation of his statements.

In the past week or so, I have known two SL'rs who have talked of moving on and out. Of course, I wish them only the best. I wish them a speedy return to SL if that is what their heart decides. I wish them all the good things they desire in their RL as well. They know who they are and they know how much I care about them.

So... Second Life... that funny little hand icon on our desktops... that thing we logged into and didn't know quite what to expect. Cheers to what will be around the next corner for each of us. And, a toast to finding what we dream of and helping each other on the way... whether it be in our first, or our second lives.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Food... Is there anything else to a holiday?

Holidays for me have always been about food - as long as I can remember. I think I must be genetically wired for it. My parents have worried about food and planned menus for as long as I can remember. Our lives seemed to revolve around mealtime. "What is for dinner?" and being home by 5:30 because dinner was at 6 pm was key to happiness - more important than any other nighttime curfew.

So yesterday was about food :) Are you surprised? Shouldn't you have seen that one coming? It was about grilling the burgers with chopped garlic and the potato salad and pasta salad and corn on the cob and baked beans (that are so sweet we joke about them being dessert beans!). It was about all of us sitting around the table laughing and enjoying each other. It was about saying grace - I have to tell you Simon says the cutest grace "Thank you for our ketchup and hotdogs and cars." But then it was all about the ICE CREAM.

Homemade ice cream has been a staple of my 4th of July FOREVER. I would have been 3 months old for my first ever 4th - and I bet they even had homemade ice cream back then!! I'll have to ask my parents. I bet they'll remember. Food things - they remember food ;) Anyway - we have this family recipe with Instant Carnation Milk in it. Yeah you include all sorts of fattening milk and cream and eggs - but the secret is always in the Instant Carnation Milk. We used to make it so much in Flagstaff (being pregnant and nursing allows you a few more dairy luxuries than day to day life) that I almost knew the recipe by heart. Sadly, though, I hadn't made the recipe since last 4th and couldn't find it yesterday. We googled and googled and finally found one that was similar. Cooking the mixture is key - no raw egg - ick, Instant Carnation Milk was key, and then we found a recipe with a new ingredient... Instant French Vanilla Pudding. Mmmmm. The kids all helped - from the cracking of the eggs to the stirring on the stove to the help loading the ice cream maker with ice and rock salt. We have an electric maker though - so loud we put it in the bathtub upstairs and shut the door. When I was a kid it was a hand crank that we all took turns churning and my dad always had the final spins teasing us about the brute strength it took to accomplish.

So... we polished off our meal yesterday with ice cream. So hot here that you had to eat it quick and slurp some up with a straw because even though the ice cream freezer did its work - it melts super fast not having set up in a container in the freezer afterward. We slurped it up - with hot fudge and butterscotch and whipped cream. We all had sugar highs and happy looks on our faces. And then, Dave and I collapsed. The kids ran in circles with big smiles on their faces and Dave and I were exhausted. Something about making holiday meals that really kicks your butt. I had a strong sense of accomplishment, accompanied with exhaustion.

I try hard to not let every day be about food. I try to be less rigid with my kids about what they eat and when they eat it except I always try to make sure we all eat well and small meals. We probably order pizza one too many times in a month. We eat LOTS of cereal. We schedule he-who's way too many evenings for dinner than necessary (he who's hungry can eat whatever tonight for dinner because mom and dad aren't cooking). But honestly, if Simon is happy with leftover cold pizza for breakfast, or like today, a half a leftover hamburger... I'm ok with that. It is a little wierd - but that kid loves meat. There are so many other things to worry about in life, I figure it is ok.

It was a good day. I hope my kids will grow up remembering the giggles and the ice cream and the sugar high with their brothers and sister. I hope they will carry on the tradition that for me is synonomous with the 4th of July.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Joonie Inspired!

flickr meme 070308
Originally uploaded by kimalakohime
Joonie upped the ante today. Not only did she provide blog candy questions - but it requred meticulous use of flickr and a new tool called fd's Flickr Toys. Definitely worth the time - I love how it turned out. There are comments embedded behind each photo.

Thank goodness I had the day in my stay-cation open to take on this challenge :) Woot!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What?? Work??

I interupt this stay-cation series for some updates on my previous weekend in SL. Back in March I went to my first U2inSL concert and was swept away literally by a dance with Bono. Silly, I know. They aren't real. But it was fun. The head of the security crew became a friend. She asked if I might be interested some time in working one of the shows. I was flattered and excited - even if it meant spending my time in no-prim hair - YIKES! She invited me to her private estate on Dragon Moon about 2 weeks ago to orient me and create a security pass. I had a flashback at the time to my no prim experience and a hint at what was to come in the future. She directed me to remove all prims. She offered me about 6 no-prim hairdos. We both laughed and she gave me the name, Robin Sojourner, who creates low/no-prim hair in case I wanted to shop before the event. I took that as a hint LOL!

I learned new things about the SL Release Candidate. First and foremost - it seems to work much better than the current version of SL! I learned new shortcuts for things from my security team leader, XL. And, I revisited my skill set of stopping people in their tracks and asking them to change their behavior, politely of course! LOL (Yes, I did used to teach high school!) I shared my new prim counting skills with Blissie:

Me: OMG - 6928 prims on one girl here!! crazy! :) lol
Blissie Boucher: What's she wearing..her house ?
Me: ROFL - a dress - a short dress - but with stuff around the bottom ofthe skirt and neck
Blissie Boucher: Jeez.
Me: she should wear a red flag warning :) "sim crasher"
Blissie Boucher: ROFL

Don't' I look like I could bust anyone at a moment's notice in this shot? :) LOL.

I have 2 clips I'll share for those of you willing to indulge in some U2. The first is of the U2inSL concert that was back in March. They have really perfected the art of concerts - and security. It is a science. Hats off to the team!
The second is of the RL U2 band performing in Chicago. I love them. Sorry - I couldn't resist sharing it too!

And... I'll close with just sharing there still is nothing like a dance with Bono. I was there both days and enjoyed watching the excitement each day of the girls that were chosen to dance with him. Pixelated or not... he's still... Bono ;)