Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Birthday Girl!

What better way to celebrate a birthday than to go to an amusement park with my honey? Here we are riding the flume and having a blast. At least we don't get wet in SL!
Another year to look forward to---and that's something to be grateful for :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I was suddenly and involuntarily unplugged from all my vices last night. I had no phone, no tv, no internet. Hmmm you know those very attractive discounted "packages" that the cable company offers? Well, caveat emptor should be written in red across them. One glitch and wham! you are cut off! Now, we all have lost our internet connection at some point. Sometimes we've had cable tv outtages and now that I've made the switch to cable phone, now I have to add phone issues to that list. But, problems with all three? At once? No, that's a first.

Ok, I took a deep breath. I live in a black hole with limited cell phone service. No towers or something I've been told, but "they're being built." Uh-huh been waiting for 4 years and not a new tower in sight. So anyway, I have a few hot spots around my house where the cell will work--like a foot above my head in the middle of the living room, near the rear window ledge and across the street. Oh yea,practical, especially when its near freezing temperatures outside. But, I had no choice.

Operator number 1 could care less about my predicament. Her attitude said it all. The best that could be done was sending a repair tech 3 days from now. When I made a fuss she said she'd "call me back" after she looking into what could be done. An hour passed, no call back. Well, I'm sort of the impatient type so I decided to take matters into my own hands and called back. I got Operator number 2. She seemed a bit more interested but assured me that nothing was wrong on my account (well I knew that already!) so I'd just have to wait. When I protested a bit more vocally that surely they could do a systems check on their end, she transferred me. Operator number 3 at least volunteered to do a systems check. Now remember I'm on my cell and the minutes are ticking away on my basic calling plan. I was put on hold while they "checked" for nearly 30 minutes listening to horrid drive-in style music. Even as the minutes ticked away I was hopeful.

Then, the lights flickered on my modem! All green at last! But, as fast as they turned green, they shut off again. It's my modem the technician declared. However, he then told me that the technician would be out "tomorrow morning between 8am-11am." After being first told it would take 3 days, this news sounded good to me! Now, what to do with all the time in between? It was only 7pm, cold and dark outside...

I discovered my laptop had games. I played chess, solitaire, mahjong and hearts. I really wanted bejeweled lol The computer beat me at all the games over and over again. So, I decided to watch a DVD on my laptop. It was great! I loved hearing the movie through my headset. It was all in my head! One movie later I was quickly growing bored. After a few more games of chess I was frustrated AND bored. Sleep sounded like a good way to pass the time...

The next morning everything was still off. My fantasy that things would miraculously "right" itself by magic were not fulfilled. So, I waited for the technician to arrive...and waited...and waited. Hmmm 3 hours later I called the cable company again. I was told I did not have an 8-11am window, I had an all day window until 5pm! No way. Now, I threw a hissy fit. Ok, not a real hissy fit but a stern "I-am-not-a-satisfied-customer" rant. I even threw in mention of Verizon's Fios cable alternative for added effect. That didn't work either.

It was time for the big guns. I demanded to speak to a supervisor, who of course was busy and would call me back. Uh-huh mister, I've been promised that before! Well, long story short the supervisor did call me back and he took names and promised to make heads roll. Now we were talking! He gave me just enough empathy and validation to make me say "viva cable!" Well, almost lol Supervisor Man promised that the technician was amazingly in my neighborhood. Oh really? wow! And no one knew that before? Even more amazingly, he'd would be knocking on my door very soon...

And about 5 minutes later he was! He said he'd be back in 2 secs. He disappeared outside and then returned. All fixed, he declared. Oh? but you haven't seen my modem, I frowned skeptically. No need he said, your service had been turned off, just like a few other neighbors.

Ooops. Someone had flicked a switch and turned off our accounts. No apology, of course. I'm supposed to just be grateful I'm plugged back into the world again....

Now, where was that Fios advertisement?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy 2nd Rez Day to Me!

November 16, 2007 was the night I first signed on to Second Life, not knowing what to expect or not to expect. Good thing because I landed in a volcano hub! I had no instructions, had no idea what to do or not to do so I sat...and sat...and sat. Still, something fascinated me enough to draw me back the next day and the next and the next...but still I was in that dreadful volcano. I noticed people appearing and disappearing but I had no idea where they were going or how.

I wonder why I kept coming back. It probably has something to do with making things a quest not if mastered quick enough. The "failure is not an option" mantra comes to mind lol

How I eventually got out of that volcano hub is another story. But suffice it to say I did and went off to discover a whole new world. Alice, finally found her way past the rabbit hole!

I'm glad I did keep coming back though. 2 years and many adventures later, many houses later (dare I even count? could I even count them?) a long history of friends (some still friends, some not, some left, some drifted, some parted ways), work from RL now in SL and of course finding my wonderful partner, I find SL is very much like RL. Nothing is constant in RL...nothing is constant nor predictable in SL. It's really all a parallel world no matter how you slice it; not perfect, sometimes bumpy but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I look forward to another great year! viva SL!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm baaack!

So many weddings, so little time! In the mad, whirlwind world of Second Life love is definitely in the air! Just like in the real world, weddings in SL are as unique as the people saying their vows.

In the past few months I've been in 2 weddings as maid of honor. One was held in a castle high in the sky, the other on the edge of a cliff in an elegant, traditional setting to rival any in the physical world. I've attended lavish weddings and simple ones on the beach with only a few guests. One wedding was abruptly cancelled on it's eve with only the cryptic explaination of "technical difficulties." It was not rescheduled and I noticed that the pair were no longer partnered shortly thereafter. Yes, even in a virtual world couples get cold feet.

But, by far the most fun wedding was our own! Bo proposed on one knee on the balcony of our island home on September 24, 2008. I had expected it at some point but despite knowing that it would eventually happen, I was nevertheless very emotional when the moment actually came to pass. In fact, I was so excited I said yes before he even asked! Fortunately one of us had the presence of mind to focus. "Let me ask you first, darling," he reminded me patiently. Well, oookay....geesh, details, details lol

What followed in the following days was a fun, albeit sometimes frustrating hunt for a church. We had both decided that we wanted a traditional wedding with all our friends witnessing our union, complete with an officiate to marry us with vows, a blessing and a full works reception. In other words, the whole enchilada.

If anyone has planned a wedding in real life, it's about the same. Couples still have to discuss and agree and make decisions. What type of church, what type of ceremony, traditional or personalized, Christian or civil, chapel, church or cathedral, music, flowers, color theme, bridal party, tuxes, dresses, bouquets and boutonnieres (or button holes as they are called in Europe). And, that's only for the church. There's also the reception, DJ and music selections, first dance song, to throw the bouquet and garter or not, cutting the virtual cake (yes) and the best man's toast. Needless to say, there was very little time to go dancing (although we did manage to plan "nonwedding" days to keep ourselves from getting frazzled).

Everything actually fell into place fairly easily for us at first. It only took a few days to find "the perfect church" which also happened to have "the perfect reception" area. Plus, they also happened to have the date we wanted open! The very last time slot! We grabbed it. With that booked and done, we could breath a collective sigh of relief and enjoy the next few weeks of engagement plotting out the other wedding details.

Ha, as they say the best laid plans...As it happened, Bo and I were Best Man and Maid of Honor for a couple's upcoming wedding. Because the European way is to not fuss over your own impending wedding until a friend's wedding is over, we didn't mention the date nor our plans to our friends. That is, until the night of their bachelor/bachelorette party when, I could hold it in no longer and blurted out that our wedding invitation would be arriving shortly and to make sure it was opened outside because it was quite large (a major understatement). When I said the date it quickly became known there was a "problem." Uh-oh our intended Best Man was going to be out of town! Big uh-oh. So we had to quickly decide if we wanted to change the date --that is, if the reception place had an opening for the night before. The good news is that they did--the last spot again but it could be ours. The bad news was that because it was now a Friday night instead of Saturday, many of our friends would not be able to attend because of time zone issues, including a long time friend who had offered to DJ our reception.

We weathered all the challenges with a humor, patience and lots of love. Little did we know that one of the biggest challenges was still ahead of us--the quest for the perfect wedding ring set! In SL hours are like days so to say we spent days and days looking for wedding bands is no exaggeration. I think we visited every jeweler in SL and saw every possible ring set. Then, we finally decided...or so we thought. I exercised my female prerogative to change my mind and so the hunt began again. I'm glad we did. I love my wedding ring set and wear it proudly. It was worth every minute of the hunt.

My wedding dress had to be perfection. No, it had to be beyond perfection. I found the perfect gown very early in the search but of course I kept on looking...and looking...and looking. I think I tried on every gown demo in SL but I kept coming back to "that" one. I thought about it and realized it just needed a few extra customized touches and it would be my perfect dress. So, I contacted the creator at Adiva Bridal and asked could she do this and that? And, amazingly she said yes. Now, if you knew how rigid and/or finicky most SL designers are, this was no small feat. I asked her to add long, fingerless opera gloves. Done. Then I asked her to add a ring of crystal flowers around the waistband to match the headpiece. Done. I had my perfect creation!

In the end, on October 24, 2008 Bo and I exchanged vows in front of over 25 friends at the church at Fanatasia Island. Our attendants were Simon, Charlie, Cirrus, Apache, Anna and Gen. Our first dance song was supposed to be "The Power of Love" by Celine Dion but the DJ goofed up and played "Falling Into You" instead. It's a beautiful song but we've decided at our 1 year anniversary to have a recommitment ceremony and have "The Power of Love" officially played as our song. Wouldn't that be lovely? Maybe Celine Dion will be in SL by then :)

So, that's what I've been up to. I've lots more to report, more fun times, more events and lots more memories. Stay tuned as my SL journey continues!

<--Puglet (USA) & Jim (Australia)'s wedding Oct 2008

<-- Our wedding Oct 24, 2008

<---first dance

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Hearts

September 24, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 11, 2008 in Second Life

We will never forget!

Hey, No One Asked Me!

Polls are a strange thing. In today's local newspaper a big, bold headline announced that 52% of my state's female residents back Obama. Hmmm...ok, I thought but you know, no one asked me! How come? So I read all the way down to the fine print.

Oh yea, buried in the body of text toward the very end they offered up the goods: 689 people were polled. Hold on! 689 people? In a state of over 8 million people?

Hmmm...ok I'm no math whiz but isn't that like way below 1%--so low in fact, that the number hardly is a blip on the radar screen?

Yep. So, 52% of 689 people say they are voting for Mr. Obama. Now, why didn't the paper just say so?

What? Oh right. Because if they did, the paper's sneaky bias towards a particular candidate may be uh, noticed?

Ya think?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different Kind of Friday Night

August 29, 2008. The gang gathered tonight but it was not our usual theme party. There was a real life death in the family of one of our gang so we got together for friendship and support.

We still had some laughs though! Friends can be a help for healing, even in the virtual world.

Pictured left to right: Apache, Simon, Bo, me, Karina (and her bunny), Cirrus, Kayla. Not pictured but were there: Krpt, Emalee, Katia, Dirk, Jaelyn.

Also not seen too well is the lovely 3 diamond past, present, future ring I was given earlier that evening :) Virtual life is full of suprises!

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Friday Night Again!

Another Friday night theme party! Whether its surfing or togas, we love our Friday night tradition! Many aren't in these pictures but as we know it's so hard to get everyone posed and facing forward! Top picture: Simon, Apache, Kayla, Bo and me. Bottom picture: from left to right Arlow, Kayla, Bo, me, Nathan, Anna, Bridget and Simon. Missing from the picture (but present) are Apache, Karina, Mauro, Cough, Cirrus, Charlie and Angel.
We've added "destination" parties so that's why we all went surfing. In the weeks to come we'll go racing, biking, skydiving, dress like olympians, 80's rock stars and nekkos.
Oh, what's a nekko? ha ha stay'll see!

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Love...

Ik hou van jou means I love you in Dutch. All I can say is that Bo had me from hello...some things just can't be planned---in real life or Second Life. Neither of us were looking, in fact we were more not looking than anything else! But, sometimes fate has other plans for you despite your best intentions to just go along your merry way solo. And, isn't that the most sweetest surprise of all when your best laid plans go belly up? I'm smiling again, singing again and my heart skips a beat when we're together.
Yeah, I've fallen...and this time I'm not getting up!

Love is in the Air!

It's August and love is definitely in the air! My SL sister, Anna and her love, Gus got married in their castle with a few friends around to celebrate their SL union. I was honored to be one of her witnesses.

It was a lovely, romantic wedding and the groom even sang a song to his beloved :) You can't get more romantic than that! Many happy times to you both, Anna and Gus!

This isn't the last wedding for us to attend---this weekend is my old friend Haley's wedding and a new pair of friends, Endo and Anastasia. Last, but not least (and maybe not the last of all the parties!) is an engagement party for Puglet next week.

Wonder what is in the SL air or in the water? Pass me some...

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Evening at Phat Cats

Despite the best of plans, SL can sometimes (oftentimes?) throw you a curve ball. Out the window were plans to attend a best in wings contest, then a red or black contest. Since winning my Queen of the Month crown last week I am on a quest to win more contests and titles! But SL had its own mind last night. Events were cancelled or empty because people could not tp nor log in.
So, the 4 of us (Apache, Simon, Bo and me) wound up at the uber formal place, Phat Cats where romance and bluesy sounds fill the air. It tends to be a quiet place with most people in private IM or voice chat. Changes in plans are frustrating but they can also result in unexpected adventures and fun. We hadn't planned to go to Phat's, there were no contests to win there but sometimes it's not a title or lindens you can win...sometimes it can be much more.
Sometimes you can win someone's heart :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


One thing about Second Life is that it can be a very lonely place unless you make connections. Tonight Bo and I went with our friends to Bedrock for bowling, racing, and a game of miniature golf. But, I lost my golf club before I even started. I fared much better in bowling, however...and held my own in racing. Ok, fine. I admit it. I drove 30 mph but hey I made it to the finish line!
SL is an incredible social networking medium. But the most amazing thing about SL are the connections you make that you would most likely never make in your real life.
For instance, our friends Apache & Simon. Apache is from New England area of USA and her partner is from Germany. Cultural divides fade, friendships are forged and accents become things of interest. Could they have met outside of SL? Maybe, but most likely not. Fate does have its own ideas though and perhaps SL was one of its vehicles.
Bo is from way up from Scandinavia country. Would we have ever bumped into each other in the physical world? I doubt it. Yet, we delight in discovering one another and talk for hours, sharing and laughing.
This mix of accents is delicious to the ear.Accent? Well, their accents, that is. What? Who has an accent? Moi? Hey, I'm just a Jersey Girl from the northeast who goes down the shore in the summer, walks the dawg and drinks cawfee. Accent? Nah...
Really. You ought to hear me speak Dutch. No accent at awl. Nope.

Everyday's a Parade

Ok, it doesn't look exactly like a Macy's Parade at Thanksgiving and yea, the NYC area seems a bit "off" but it's the thought that counts I think.
Where but in Second Life can you have an ongoing Macy's Parade strutting their stuff down main street any time you want it?
Where else can you sit on King Kong's shoulder on top of the Empire State Building?
They say all the world's a stage. I think no where else is that truer than in SL. This wonderful, vast virtual immersive world is an ever evolving canvass and our imagination is the paint. Whatver you think can become.
Explore, enjoy, laugh,'s all possible here in the home I call Second Life!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

King of the world!

I have to admit that ever since seeing the movie, Titanic, I've always fantasized about doing this "king of the world" stunt. Now, just having been on board a cruise ship a couple of months ago, I can tell you I'd be terrified to try it in real life...but isn't that what a second life is for?
So, aboard a crude imitation of the Titanic ship, Bo and I tried it out under the sisterly watchful eyes of Anna. Could we have fallen overboard?
Yep. But it's Second Life and nothing would happen save a bruised ego and a laugh or two. Then, you'd fly up and try it all over again! You can't always do that in real life but here, in this immersive 3D world you most certainly can--and with friends from around the world by your side!
Life, whether real or virtual can be sweet :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Salsa, baby!

The Friday Night Gang gathered at Kayla's island paradise for a night of Salsa last night. Toro! And, we even had a bull! There was dancing, laughing (as always) and for some reason the boys brought out their toys.

Soon there were alien avatars, transformers, little deputys, cars, weapons,motorcycles and even a Zeppelin balloon. Yes, you read that right!

I had an unfortunate accidental "wardrobe malfunction" moment too. At least it was amongst friends! Ha ha but methinks Krpt, Apache and Bo saw a wee bit too much more of me than ever planned. Simon thankfully missed it and Charlie...hmmm where was Charlie?

It all ended with Bo becoming a model. He sweetly modeled my beach shorts line for pictures for my newest store. Muuuah, Bo!

Next week it's Christmas in August at my house! Maybe Santa will come so I can sit on his lap and whisper my Christmas wishes...never too early to start!

Rock of Ages

You can take the girl out of the 80's but you can't always take the 80's out of the girl :)
Ok we all have vices, 80's hair bands are mine lol and fortunately, in Second Life life seems to be in a time warp. Most of us boomers must dominate the demographics because 80's concert venues abound. Great for me!
So, I spend lots of hours doing the rounds at concerts by tribute bands, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends but no matter I always have a great time! This past week alone I heard Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, 3 Doors Down and a german band called Kreation. I missed Evanescence but will catch them another time.
And, I'm even thinking about being a singer in a cover band....hey, why not. Isn't that what a second life is all about?
Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Devil of a Time!

Every Friday night our gang holds a theme party. This week I hosted an Angels, Devils, Sinners and Saints dance. No one came as a saint but I think the angels outnumbered the devils!
It was a great time. People came from all over--from as far away as Australia to Germany, UK, Portugal and the USA.
Our crowd keeps growing --the more the merrier: Albi, Leo, Coughdrop, Simon, Apache, Kayla, Tomcat, Charlie, Anna, Genevieve, Third, Marimar, Paribus... did I forget anyone? MIA were regulars Bo and Enkryptor. Next week's theme is Salsa--Ole!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Points of View

While riding a ferris wheel today, I thought about a movie I once saw called Roshomon. The film is about how several people recall an event from their own vantage points, which influences their perspectives. On the ferris wheel, when you are ground level, you don't see much more than what is before you...but as you rise higher and higher, you begin to see buildings that you didn't know where there and pathways never explored.

It is like a whole new world yet it is the same world. It's all how you see things really. Life can be narrow, like a tunnel where you can't see left or right but only ahead. But, we need to see things in shades of grey. We need to see the periphery in order to gauge the larger picture. To only march on, eyes straight ahead is to rob yourself of scenery and people you would not have seen otherwise.

There is a street in San Francisco. It's the most winding road ever built. It's not practical but it's fun. The narrow twists and turns force you to slow down to enjoy the experience. We should do that in our lives as well. Slow down and enjoy different views of your world. Sit on the other side of the road, change where you are seated on the couch, sleep on the other side of the bed, drive to work a different way. Change it up!

And, perhaps like the ferris wheel, you will see the world in a whole new way---full of wonder, potential and possibility :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Life Goes On at Inishmore

July 7, 2008 will be the first anniversary of owning Inishmore. The island is not the same as it once was, the dreams are different too but life goes on. Had an impromptu party with some friends and we had a great time until...well, don't know how I did it but I accidentally deleted the ground we were all dancing on and we all tumbled into the ocean! haha everyone loved it!
Later on a few friends, Enkryptor, Anna and Tom joined me for some chat in my underwater cove. No, things are not the same but the one thing you can always count on is change. Whenever I start to get a bit melancholy, I think of how the apostle Paul endured all sorts of change in his life and endured what I will never experience. And yet, despite his torture and persecution, he had the courage to say...
"I have learned in whatever state I'm in, to be content." Philippians 4:11
How many of us can say that? How many of us practice that? It is a simple gift to ourselves to be content despite whatever life throws at us. So, do we take that gift or do we sour when things don't go our way? Let's not wither on the vine of discontent. Why not grasp life and be matter matter matter in what state. Go for it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Can you Support Abortion and still be a Christian?

I read the following article and thought to myself, "how can this be?" How can Christians park their faith on the curb just to support a popular candidate? How do they justify this to themselves---and to God? I am incredulous...ok, perhaps naive to believe that all Christians who say they are Christians will embrace,practice and follow the tenant's of the teachings of Jesus, but stunned all the same. How can one support extinguishing life yet in the next breath pray to the God who gives us all life?
Read on:
Most Members Of Obama's Catholic Advisory Council Members Support Abortion Rights, Opinion Piece Says25 Jun 2008
Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn writes in an opinion piece that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) "sent a clear message" to Democrats who "gravitated" toward Republican candidates because of their opposition to abortion rights by appointing Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) as the head of his National Catholic Advisory Council. According to McGurn, although the council's National Leadership Committee does include some Roman Catholic lawmakers whose "pro-life credentials are impeccable," such as Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), most members of the council have a "seal of approval" from NARAL Pro-Choice America, with 17 of the 21 senators, members of Congress and governors on the committee having a 90% to 100% approval rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.To further support his thesis that Obama's Catholic advisory council would be better suited to informing voters about how "extreme" Obama's position on abortion is rather than encouraging Catholic voters to support him, McGurn points out that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), one of the committee's co-chairs, recently was asked by her bishop to stop receiving Holy Communion because of her support for abortion rights.Obama has said that although he supports abortion rights, he acknowledges a "moral dimension" to abortion, and has said that he is willing to listen to abortion-rights opponents and that he wants to work to reduce the number of abortions, according to McGurn. However, Obama's arguments are a "tough sell" to Catholic voters, McGurn writes, adding that Catholic voters who are supporting Obama "have to get around" the Catholic Church's position that abortion is an "intrinsic evil" and is "always and everywhere wrong"

(McGurn, Wall Street Journal, 6/24). Reprinted with kind permission from You can view the entire Daily Women's Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women's Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, published by The Advisory Board Company. © 2008 The Advisory Board Company. All rights reserved.
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Actions Speak Louder than Words!

Obama: Equal Pay for Women... Just Not on My Dime
Posted by Bobby Eberle
July 1, 2008 at 6:00 am
Sen. Barack Obama talks a good game. There's talk about hope and change, and hope and change, and even more hope and change. What exactly is he hoping to change? No one really knows, but one thing is clear: the more we get to know him, the more we realize that his actions are quite different than his "hope and change" rhetoric.
As an example, take his recent speech about pay discrimination between men and women. Obama told the audience in Albuquerque, NM that he supports "a Senate bill to make it easier to sue an employer for pay discrimination." Yet, upon a review of Obama's payroll, we learn that women are paid less than men. Keep talking Sen. Obama.
As reported by, "While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has vowed to make pay equity for women a top priority if elected president, an analysis of his Senate staff shows that women are outnumbered and out-paid by men. That is in contrast to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's Senate office, where women, for the most part, out-rank and are paid more than men."
In his speech, Obama spoke about how his single mom worked to raise her family. He spoke of hardships of his grandmother, and also his wife. He set the stage beautifully by noting the successes of these women... then what did he do? He blasted Sen. John McCain, saying, "But when you look at our records and our plans on issues that matter to working women, the choice could not be clearer. ... It starts with equal pay."
It starts with equal pay? Did he seriously say that with a straight face? As notes in their analysis, "On average, women working in Obama's Senate office were paid at least $6,000 below the average man working for the Illinois senator." also points out that "of the five people in Obama's Senate office who were paid $100,000 or more on an annual basis, only one -- Obama's administrative manager -- was a woman."
In contrast, women outnumbered men on McCain's Senate payroll by 30 to 16. The women were paid an average of $3,000 more than the men.
Obama sounds less and less like an advocate of hope and change, and more and more like a typical politician. In his speech Obama said, "We can't afford an economy where folks keep working harder for less. We can't let the women in our workforce get paid even less for doing the same work." Oh really? It appears that Obama, as an employer, has no problems doing exactly what he is speaking against. I guess he means "other" employers. Certainly we shouldn't look at what his own hiring practices really are, right? This is just one other part of his record that he'd prefer be kept out of the spotlight.
Near the end of his speech, Obama said, "I want my daughters to grow up in an America where they have opportunities that are even greater than their mother had, or their grandmothers, or their great grandmothers -- an America where our daughters truly have the same opportunities as our sons."
Note to Obama's daughters.... Don't go to work for your dad.

sad, isn't it that in this new century, already nearly a decade into it that women are still behind in the game!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Little Piece of Eden

Different views of my new little piece of paradise, Isla Bonita which is a small island off of Island of Eden. I wasn't sure what it would become when I first began its design but eventually it came together. It is a place for relaxation, meditation, prayer, friendship...we all need our own space for things like that. As time goes by I will enjoy it more, I'm sure. For me, that's what Second Life is all about: creating, enjoying and communing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


There is a popular prediction right now that pinpoints December 21, 2012 for the End of Times to happen. Apparently many major ancient prophecies stop at this date. Even the Mayan calendar stops there. Well, ok maybe it will be Doomsday but how about considering other options.

What if the guy who chisled the dates into the Mayan stone calendar got fired before he could finish? What if he got tired of the whole thing and quit? What if he got his bosses mad and they ripped his heart out as punishment (hey, didn't you see Apocolypto?) Or what if he keeled over from a heart attack? Geesh and then 2,000 years later we're putting more meaning into it than really what happened.

Ok but now go with the idea that somehow the Mayans tapped into a crystal ball. December 21, 2012 is now a few days less than 4.5 years from now. I don't know about you but that's enough to give me pause. I mean, I haven't visited Stonehenge, the Northwest, taken an Alaskan cruise or danced at the Palms in Vegas yet. I have things to do and places to see and now I have a Doomsday Clock ticking down.

Do I believe it? Nah. Do I care? Not really. All kidding aside, sure I'd love to fulfill everything on my life's wish list but I'm fine with whatever happens. So, if the world ended tomorrow, whether naturally, by man made stupidity or if Jesus makes his second appearance, I'm ok with it because my soul is not going to be left behind no matter how it happens.

So, bring on whatever is supposed to happen December 21, 2012. I'm ready.

But you know what, I think I'll buy my Christmas presents that year on December 22 just in case...but uh oh, just had a thought--what if that Mayan chisler was dyslexic! 12/12/12?

Definitely something to think about...

Monday, June 23, 2008


I can be the Queen of De-Nial. Case in point are the gas prices. Instead of filling up, I used to plunk down 20 bucks at a time (now increased to 35) because it didn't seem to be "as bad" as it really was. Well, today I decided to bite the bullet. It was time to face things head on!

I heard myself say (through clinched teeth), "Fill'r up with regular, please." The gas station attendant looked at me with what I thought was controlled horror. I quickly looked away and applied some lipstick while peering in my driver's side makeup mirror. As long as I didn't look nor pay close attention I figured it wouldn't be so bad...right?

Wrong! I nearly fainted when he annouced, "$68.53 ma'am." He must've seen the color drain from my face because he pointed to the gallons used as if to defend himself. I was speechless. Now, I know it probably seems silly and a bit naive but honestly, putting in a few dollars here and there really truly did seem to add up to less. Ok, in my world it did.

That got me to wondering how often we pull the switcheroo in our lives to fool ourselves into thinking something isn't quite as bad as it is? Even worse, how often we refuse to fill up our emotional and spiritual "tanks" on a regular basis because we might have to pay up.

To be a Christian means we are supposed to spread the good news. Not only on Sundays, not only to each other---but to everyone, everywhere, all the time no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. But to successfully serve the Lord we must also work on our own walk--all the time. That means reading, studying, joining ministries, belonging to groups and committing ourselves to getting a full tank of spiritual gas.

Yea, it's a lot easier on us if we just put in little chunks of spiritual gas, like just going to church on Sundays and then not doing much for the Lord for the rest of the week. Wait, you say, I did my bit for workship! I came, I listened and did my duty what more do you want from me? Well, my brother and sister, you received about a 1/4 tank or so of Holy Fire. There is so much more to being a Christian than just going to church!

But, you have to first ask yourself: do you want a full tank of Jesus or 1/2? Are you willing to pay the full price or do you just want to spend some change on Him? It's your soul, your salvation. Still, you have to ask yourself what the cost will be if you don't pay the full price and fill yourself up?

C'mon don't you want more? What will you ask for the next time you pull up at the well? Will you say, "Fill me up, Lord?" Or will you drive away with a half full tank?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lament for the Old Neighborhood

Years ago when the kids were little and my life was a blur of soccer games, tournaments, little league, ballet and the like we used to always stop by at our favorite neighborhood pizzeria/restaurant afterwards. Sweaty and still in uniform, my son would gobble down pizza like it was manna from heaven. We did this for years---years!

You think I'm exaggerating? We started on this whirlwind journey when my son was in first grade, barely coordinated enough to kick or hit a ball much less get it in a net or blast a home run and we ended with the travel-team circuit with an olympic class ranking at age 12. It only "ended" because of problems with ankle growth plates and even then it was a hiatus. As soon as we got the green light, add high school level baseball, football and karate to the mix. If you think I can remember 1987-1998 you've got to be kidding! Anyway, I digress...

Basically the pizzeria guys watched my kids grow up. By the time we moved my son had graduated high school and his sister was ready to go in. It was with a sad heart we moved to a town that did not have a pizza that rivaled the one we coveted. It was only 6 miles away but you'd think we had moved to Siberia. But, soon we found a substitute. Yea, it wasn't as good but the pizza guys were very friendly and made us feel at welcomed. Son goes off to college and now our lives have morphed into an every-other-weekend thing with daughter's dad.

I hadn't been alone since...well, since maybe birth? I mean, I went from home to a college dorm with lots of roomies to marriage. Along came the kids and that pretty much summed up my life until the-big-breakup. No where had I ever experienced being alone. This was brand new and I wasn't sure if I liked it. So, I started a comfort ritual. Every other Saturday when my daughter went away, I'd go and get take out Chinese. Ok, sounds pathetic and probably was but it was all I could think up at the time. The weekends my daughter was home we'd go to the pizza place where I soon discovered they had "the best" ever grilled chicken salad platter!

Fast forward six years. That's alot of Chinese take out and pizza/grilled chicken salad, I know but by now daughter is in college (still living at home though so no, I wasn't totally alone yet). She no longer goes away every other weekend but we keep up our pizza "date" routine whenever she wasn't with her boyfriend.

Then, it came time to move again. I had gotten so attached to the Chinese food lady and the pizza guys that I actually got hugs from them and I swear I saw a tear or two. I promised the pizza guys we'd "be back" to say hi and I told the Chinese food lady that she had the best Chinese in town. And, so we returned to the town we had left six years prior. Well, let me clarify that--same township but on the other side. In a township that is 56 sq miles the other side of town can be pretty far away! Still, once settled we made a trip to see the pizza guys from the "old days." And, sure enough they were still there--and they remembered the kids! "We watched them grow up," one of them said. And, when I would tell them how old they were now, we'd go through the "oh no, can't be!" routine.

But across town is across town and with the price of gas I rarely get there any more. Plus, the kids are now both gone and I am, for the very first time since birth alone. It's part time right now as the daughter returns about every 3 weeks or so, dog in tow and usually the boyfriend too lol Unfortunately, despite having lived on this side of town for nearly 4 years, I have yet to find a friendly we-know-your-name kinda place. No one says hello or recognizes me when I walk in places. I feel very disconnected and only a face in the crowd.

However, I thought that might change. I found a Subway on the way home a few weeks ago. I've decided that I'd try doing the Jared kind of diet a few times a week. Hey, it's cheap, it's calorie controlled, it's cheap (oh did I say that already?) and I hate cooking for one. The second time I stopped in I was the only customer (again) and made small talk with the lady behind the counter. It was the same lady as from day before yesterday. I ordered the same thing I did then. I'm a creature of habit, boring to others but comforting for me. I like what I like and why try something different? Anyway, this goes on for a couple of weeks equaling at least 7-8 visits now (I'm serious about this Jared Diet thing). Same lady, same order. Yet, each time she looks at me with blank eyes. There is no flicker of any kind of "oh yea, you're the turkey-on-whole-wheat-light-mayo lady." Nothing. Nada.

How can that be? I am usually the only customer walking in around 5pm. I guess most are eating with their families or even cooking (new concept) while I, the now alone, needs to cook for no one. So, it's not like I am in a huge line and she is rushed or stressed like they are at Coldstone Creamery. Sometimes the line nearly goes out the door for Coldstone's gooey, high calorie, hand rolled concoctions!

I miss the Chinese food lady, the pizza guys from the old neighborhood and the pizza guys from the now new-old neighborhood. There are no smiles for me at Subway's counter, not even recognition. Hey, I will make this a challenge. How long do you think it will take for the Subway Lady to know my usual order? Bets are now open...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Home of the Brave

Last weekend I was honored to be asked by a family friend to come to his National Guard unit's farewell ceremony. And so I went--in 90+ degree heat and yucky humidity, I joined about 10,000 family and friends to proudly watch these brave volunteers give their final march lap around the field before going off to war---for the second time in 2 years.

While thousands sat on the bleachers or on the grass, the soldiers stood at attention like statues for over 2 hours, not complaining, not flinching. How do they do it, I wonder? We were sweating in shorts and these soldiers were wearing heavy camaflauge gear, high boots and hats. I was melting and they were standing ready to serve. Yet, I didn't hear one complaint from anyone nearby. These were soldiers' families and they live at the heart of sacrifice. Braving extreme heat, long traffic jams and sunburn is nothing compared to what these 3,000 soldiers will be facing very shortly--something they know all too well now that they've already experienced a tour already.

I will pray every day for these men and women of all ages, races and faiths. I will pray and support them each day until they return. It's not about politics, it's not about whether this is a "right" war or not...for me it's all about these brave souls who are volunteering their physical, mental and emotional selves to protect us back home so that my family can feel safer.

Thank you all for doing that, for me, for my family, for my friends and neighbors that you don't know or ever will. Your selfless sacrifice makes you shining stars in my book.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Bend in the Road

As I have often quoted, a bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn!
Right. Life throws us lots of bends and curves all the time. If we aren't watching, these curves can catch us by surprise and we can suddenly find ourselves fighting for control of the steering wheel. We may even land in a ditch. Since life isn't perfect, we know that these hairpin turns will happen from time to time no matter how much we prepare. The trick is not being in a continual flight or fight mode but rather in a fluid state of mind where we do not attempt control everything and everyone.

Sound contradictory? Well, for many years I trained in Aikido. That is a martial art of flow and circular movements. It's an art that uses your opponent's strength against them. Think Steven Siegal and you'll get what I'm saying. And, although he studied Hapkido it's pretty much the same concept. The trick is in not tensing up. You go with the flow of energy instead of fighting it. But, that is not a passive response by any means. It's actually control by relinquishing control.
And, the same can be said with faith. When I try to control everything, when I curl my fingers tight against the steering wheel, that's when I lose my ability to cope with change, disappointment or a shift in direction. I forget that I am not in total control at all. I am just the driver cruising down that proverbial highway. It's when I resist that I have the most troubles, the most profound hurt, the feeling of being overwhelmed. It's a knee jerk response. I'm still new at this and finding myself dwelling in a pit when things don't go "my way" is a very familiar place.

Then, I realize I have a Higher Power in my life now; a Savior who not only put the stars in the sky but knows them all by name---a God so powerful and loving that he died for my sins. Oh, it's not easy this Christian thing, this living by faith-and-not-by sight thing, this releasing of doing things for myself and by myself. I am still a toddler, learning my walk.

So, I look for my encouragement in the only place that is guaranteed to give all the answers I will ever need. This is what I found:
"But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13 NIV

Exactly! You can't drive without crashing if you are always looking in the rear view mirror! From now on I am looking forward out the windshield and leaving the rest to God. I trust he will get me where I'm supposed to end up-- I just hope he remembers where I'm going. He's a busy man, you know.

Just in case, psst it's exit 9, Lord :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Being Left Behind

I heard about a website on the radio the other day. It's called
It's a place to leave your loved ones notes in case they were weren't saved before Tribulation Day. Now that's an interesting concept.

Apparently, there will still be a small window of time afterwards to run to the internet and declare faith. Well, good intentions but somehow I think that if Jesus did come down and took the saved, the first thoughts of those left behind might not be about booting up their desktops! Then again, in these days of Twitter and mobile internet, perhaps there would be a flurry of IM's, postings and emailings going on!

What would they say, do you think?
Twitter: Whoa! Everyone just left! No really left! I can't text anyone. Dang, this sucks.
Myspace: no new friends to add
Facebook: Whoever is left we don't want to know
Blog Catalog Thread Discussion: So what are you going to do with that great parking spot?

Don't know about you but I don't want to be left behind to find out! I am trying to walk my walk every day. It's not easy. It's a struggle. None of us are perfect. God knows that. But, there are still a number of people who think that because they are "good people" or doing good things, that this is the Willy Wonka golden ticket. Yet, it clearly tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 that good works alone aren't enough.

We all want our loved ones to go with us when the end happens. Maybe we should instruct them to go to that website if they find themselves left behind. Couldn't hurt...and might possibly save them.

In the meantime, keep on planting those seeds! None of us know when the End Times will happen. It could be tomorrow or in another 1,000 years. The trick is to prepare as though it were coming any day. Just like we prepare for possible future terrorist attacks and have jugs of water, plastic, duct tape, batteries etc we have to do the same for our souls. A terrorist attack may never happen again in our lifetime. The End of Days may never happen while we are on earth but in either case you don't want to be caught unprepared.

Preparing for a terrorist attack takes lots of planning and items. Preparing for the Tribulation only requires asking Jesus to come into your life and heart as your Savior. Both preparations are necessary, but you have to admit the latter is lots easier!

All you have to say ask for Jesus to become your Lord and Savior and from that moment on you have been given a brand new spiritual heart and have been reborn! That's it!

Don't be left behind, but if you are keep that website in your wallet.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Friendship Drums

Good friends are alot like comfy sweaters. You may not need them for awhile as you go about your business and day to day lives but when you do need them, they are there for you, offering their shoulder and ear. They say if you can count on one good friend or two you are very lucky.

Anna and I met about this time last year. Both of us were passing time away, each nursing a bruised heart. I thought she had a really cute outfit on and Im'd her about it, but also teased her about wearing a fur outfit in hot weather. She laughed and we quickly started chatting. Then, we decided to play a game. Only we two knew we were playing it but we had fun seeing who would "win" by the end of the evening. I'm not sure who exactly "won." Maybe it was a tie. It doesn't really matter though. We were both winners because we each now had a new friend.

Time passed and we each moved on and our hearts mended. We shared secrets, fun and wedding plans. And, throughout the rest of the year we saw relationships end, new ones bloom and there were more times ahead for that proverbial shoulder.

We've been through thick and thin, Anna and I. She is one of the constants in my Second Life world when other things change around us. Sometimes we can foresee the changes, other times change is thrust upon us without warning like a storm off the radar screen. You know those kinds of storms. They are the kind where in its aftermath life can emerge ruined, with broken dreams. Not always, but sometimes.

And, when it does, it's hard. Because SL is supposed to be an idyllic world. It's supposed to be your refuge, sanctuary. A vortex of sorts against the harsh reality of real life. When things happen in SL that rock your world, I think the reason the fallout can feel so painful is because SL is not only in your head but also in your heart.

In your heart grows a world where dragons fly, where you can live underwater without needing oxygen and where fairy dust and unicorns really exist....really. So, when painful things happen your heart really feels it, too.

To borrow a line from a David Crowder song, "...There seems no end to where you begin and where I end now You and I, collide."

But thankfully, friends can help cushion that collision. Like angels with a safety net, they catch you when you are about to fall....and hopefully your world rights itself again. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow...but sometime in the shadows of time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stress Gone Wild

Trusting Mapquest has nearly been my undoing the past two days. Last night I trusted it to guide me to a restaurant for a dinner meeting. The directions seemed simple and straight forward enough to not raise any red flags. But, something went awry. Although I had kept to the chartered course, I had undisputable evidence by way of a street sign that the road I was promised would lead me to a prime rib dinner, was indeed not the correct path.

Where had it gone wrong? A few streets ago? A mile back? At that fork in the road? I was lost. Since I had given myself ample time to leisurely sip a drink at the restaurant, I still had some time left to back track. So, I turned around, which in itself was no easy feat during prime time traffic.

As I navigated a jughandle turn (for those of you not familiar with this peculiar setup, it is a turn that looks like a handle because you have to exit to the right of the road only to curve around to make a legal turn again. I think New Jersey may have the patent on this) I pondered my plight. It got worse. Now I was facing an intersection beckoning me to follow it towards my hunted quest but it wasn't on my printed out directions.

Hmmm...the sign said Edison with an arrow pointing me that-away. I seized upon that information like a salivating, hungry wolf. Prime Rib nirvana was looming closer! Or, was it? My excited anticipation began to wane after a few miles, traveled at a snail's pace due to the traffic. This was the road, the sign said so. So, where was this place? The road was 4 lanes wide with hungry, tired commuters all wanting to get home and there I was, trying to look at both sides with quick glances and trying to drive at the same time. This is when GPS would be a great thing to have.

Along the way I spotted a police car making a turn at the intersection. It was a Mustang. Now, I don't know about you but I've never pictured a Mustang muscle car as a police vehicle. As I waited for the light to turn, for some reason seeing that Mustang patrol car took me down memory lane, to a time when I was in college and dating the guy who would wind up becoming my husband two years later. That gold Mustang had been the envy of my dorms! It was a Mach I with a 351 Boss engine and hurst shift. Black slats covered the rear window and it boasted a stereo system to boom out the best 70's rock music. It was automobile heaven. Anyway, the thought of the Mustang being a police car amused me for the duration of the light.

When it turned green, I was on my way again. Lost, but on my way. Then, I saw another sign. It told me I was now leaving Edison. Oh no! I looked at the traffic going in both directions and made a decision. I was now officially 45 minutes late for my wonderful prime rib dinner. I was hungry, tired and frustrated. I decided it was time to find my way home. In the end, dinner wound up being Chinese take out last night instead of a fancy dinner with colleagues.

Because I was either dropped on my head while young or am a slow learner, but I trusted Mapquest again less than 24 hours later. I had an important legal appointment and needed to be at the courthouse--a courthouse I had never been to before. The directions promised only 3 turns from the highway. Piece of cake! The first turn brought a sense of relief. Ok, great I would arrive early enough to destress and relax. The next turn was at 0.1 miles on Elm. Wait a minute...where was Elm?! As I passed several streets and watch the odometer go past 0.1 miles from the last turn, there was no Elm. I could feel my stress levels shooting up. I was in city traffic and now lost. Every street was a one way so every time I made a choice, it took several more turns to right myself again. Of course I hit every red light. Finally I saw a courthouse sign. This way it said to parking!

I had to park on the roof. I had made it with 3 minutes to spare but at least I was there! In the elevator I made some small talk and mentioned I needed to be in a certain area by 9am and how grateful I was to have made it in time.

The man frowned, "Uh, hate to tell you but you're at the wrong courthouse. The one you want is over there," He pointed to a tall, windowed building several blocks away. "Better run," he suggested.

The elevator doors slid open. I took a deep breath. I had 1 minute to get there. As I stepped outside, the sky opened up and it began to rain.

I had no umbrella. Where was a Mustang police car when you needed one?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kids Will Be Kids?

In America, this is Prom time. It's a time when young men and women get dressed up, go to a catered dinner at a fancy banquet hall and dance the night away. The popular ones will be crownded King and Queen or at least be named for the Homecoming Court. Others will stay home and a few brave ones (at least in my generational view) will go alone. In my day, if you were solo you didn't go. Period. It was a couples function. No more. If you are unattached you can still partake in the evening's festivities. I wonder if they buy themselves their own corsage?

But, one thing has not changed since my day: the rite of passage after-prom trek down the shore. However, while the destination has remained the same, the amount of time spent down there has not. In my day (oh how that sounds so...archaic!), one drove down to the beach on only a few hours of sleep from the evening before. We'd arrive bleary eyed in the early hours of the next day ready for a day of fun. I'm not quite sure why we went so early. Prom for us was usually before Memorial Weekend, the official "opening" of the summer season so nothing was really open yet. But, we all felt so very grown up going off on our own with our own agendas.

So, we'd arrive en masse to the shore location of our choice, although it seemed we all favored mostly the same spots. We'd frolick on the sand, dip our toes in the ice cold sea, eat some fast food somewhere and then call it a day in late afternoon to face the long drive back home. That was sufficient for us back then.

Ah, but that was then, this is now. Nowadays kids make post-Prom an entire weekend. They pile into hotel rooms and party hearty without adult supervision. That most are under 18 and still considered minors by the law of the land doesn't seem to faze anyone. Their parents reserve and pay for the rooms. Someone always knows someone who is old enough to supply the alcohol...and of course, because as I was told today over lunch, "kids will be kids," there will most likely also be sex going on as well.

Kids will be kids, I was told. The group consensus was that nothing much could be done. This was the way it is now, besides kids could have sex anytime. They didn't need to wait for post-Prom weekend!

I was taught that people rise to your level of expectation. If we expect our children to indulge in sexual relations, then they probably will. After all, society says it's ok. Just take a look at what's being offered to our teens on television. There is one show on now that showcases its teenaged characters having sex, drinking and using drugs. There are no adults around, no repercussions for their behavior or choices and certainly no one telling them they shouldn't be doing these things---not on the show, nor the writers. The tone is that this is what kids do, no judgement, no lessons, no punishment.

Really? Is it foolhearty to think that our children could be offered different choices; that their fate is not yet sealed? If we never offer checks and balances, whose fault is it when our children then do what they want or are pressured by peers to join in and have no resources to say no? After all, if their parents don't seem to have a problem with it, then why should they? And, even if the child hesitated or didn't feel ready, since everyone else was going or doing it and even their own parents didn't say no, how could they have the strength and courage to not go along with the flow? It would take a very strong individual indeed.

I think there are more teens than society gives credit to who don't want to indulge in premarital sex. Now, if these teens had the knowledge that there were programs and people backing them up, I wonder how many more would step forward for their convictions?

Having sex isn't a right. It's an intimate act; it's a loving act. Our children need to respect and shelter their bodies right alongside their hearts and souls. We worry about their education, we worry about their feelings so why don't we worry about them offering themselves to someone who may not love them back, may have a disease or impregnate them?

Instead of offering them condoms, instead of renting hotel rooms for them, instead of shrugging it off with "kids will be kids" mentality, why don't we give them reasons to wait? Not with brimstone and fire reasons but reasons that will connect and communicate with them.

Kids are kids, which means they are not adults. We should, as parents and a society, role model for them how to respect, honor and love themselves enough to say no to behavior that is potentially harmful mentally, physically...and yes, spiritually.

Let's turn the tide by continuing to disapprove of parents who look the other way or give subtle permission to behave irresponsibly. Let's stop the message of "it's ok to have sex" aimed at our children by complaining to networks and movie producers who glamorize this type of behavior and fool our children into thinking it's ok and "everyone is doing it" because the truth is, they are not.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dance Like There's No One Around!

Fairies, elves, tinies and dragons--oh my! Just another Friday night event at Z9 Christian Rock Club in Second Life. DJ Allan rocked the
house with tunes from Bon Jovi, Toby Mac, Whitesnack, Rainbow, Def Leopard and more. Guests kept the DJ busy with all their personal favorite requests.

At high count, 19 people from around the world danced the night away under a confetti filled moonlit night. Even the dragons (Maggie and Bonnie) boogied the night away, although it did get a bit dangerous with their fire breath!

Next time we'll have to bring marshallows, graham crackers and mmmm chocolate!

S'mores anyone?

A new life has begun! II Cor 5:17

A new life has begun! II Cor 5:17
God's GPS