It’s Been 12 Years

perfect hibiscus
Most beautiful hibiscus with white superbells

That’s what WordPress tells me – 12 years ago today I started blogging. That sounds about right because my SL birthday is June 26. Wow. Twelve years. So much has changed. I don’t blog much about SL anymore. I’m not even in contact with most of my SL friends, even though I met so many of them F2F. Maudlin though it might sound – they are all still very much a part of me. Very real to me even if it’s been years. My SL life was so vivid. Intense. It started me on a great path that led to a new job, a new outlook on life, a new me. I think my enjoyment of taking and framing pictures began with all those zillions of screen shots. 🙂 Prior to SL I’d been curating a haiku board on someone else’s website, but blogging my SL life gave me a whole new way to write. I thank all of you who follow me and who just drop in to visit. 🙂 Having reminisced, I know to move on and talk about cats and food and flowers. 🙂

outake from bc's photo session
An out-take from BC’s photo session 🙂

I don’t think I have any new cat pictures to share. WC is not feeling very well. She’s spent most of today under the bed. 😦 She and GC will be 18 in August. They’re entitled to whatever foibles they care to exhibit. BC says she has no foibles. She is a work cat, she says, helping me get things done. Funny, somehow whenever she is in my lap while I’m working, my productivity rate slows.

perfect baked rolls
c’mon – LOOK at these rolls! they are PERFECT!!!

I do have some food pictures I haven’t shared yet. 🙂 You’re probably tired of me raving about the perfect 40 minute rolls. I baked a PERFECT batch of them the other night. I also made sesame noodles and coleslaw that night. I’m wanting the wheatberry salad but that takes a lot more time and effort.

swamp milkweed
Swamp milkweed and goose neck

And of course the garden. There are ALWAYS pictures of flowers and plants. I get such joy from the flowers. I have 2 rose mallow plants growing in the front garden. They are a variety of hibiscus – perennial in this zone. I’m hoping that they thrive. It would be such a joy to have hibiscus flowers every year. I don’t think the colors will be as spectacular as the tropical hibiscus but I think the size of the rose mallow flower is much larger. Only time and good fortune will tell!

grape tomatoes ready for harvesting

My grape tomatoes are ripening! The radishes are doing something, but I really think they are doing something odd, not something radishy. I am sure they are growing down and long, not round. The bits of red I can see between the leaves and the soil look distinctly oblong, not spherical. I’m giving them a bit longer. No pictures of those yet.

canna lilies pre planting
3 dark leaved cannas, 2 green leaved cannas – ready for a home in the ground

I had to hunt down canna lilies this year. Last year I had no trouble finding them and I noticed that the butterflies seemed to really enjoy them. I already told you my thrill upon seeing one of those tropicana canna lilies wintered over and is growing. I have a recollection that I usually head out the last week in June to get my cannas. I went out on Saturday. Unlike my usual style I’ll cut this story short. It took me over 1.5 hours to find them. 3 Home Depots, 1 Lowes, 1 of my usual nurseries and a Walmart. It was the 3rd Home Depot where I finally found some. They were not all that great looking either. 2 of them had tags indicating variety, the other 3 did not. I’m hoping they are tropicanas because those grow to 6 feet. I was planning to go online and pay whatever I had to pay to get some cannas if that last store had not had them. I was exhausted, it had started raining, the humidity was horrible and I was distraught at the idea of no cannas. There were 7 left at the store. At one point I had all of them in my cart, but then I put 2 back. I wasn’t really sure I could fit 7 in the garden (they get fairly large) and I thought maybe someone else was hunting for cannas as crazed as I was by the scarcity. I promise you a picture as they get larger.

cactus with weeds
It HURTS to get stuck by the cactus when I’m trying to remove the weeds

My lovage is doing very well in its new location. The ones I left behind in the planter are not as happy. I do like the blue flowers. 🙂 Do you have any idea how difficult it is to weed around a cactus? They don’t seem to appreciate the effort I make to keep their pots clear of clover and other weeds.

flowering lovage
Blue lovage flowers and a very healthy lovage plant

My pollinator plants are doing well. I have lots of bees all over the goose neck (Lysimachia clethroides) and the swamp milkweed. No one seems to have discovered the hyssop or the butterfly weed yet. I hope the butterflies get here. 🙂 Can the bees use up all the good parts???

flowering hyssop (see the rudbeckia leaf behind it???)

12 years. wow. 🙂

Stepping Out

I started this blog over 5 years ago when I joined SecondLife. I wanted to share what I learned AS I learned and more, I wanted the folk who knew me to understand the joy and pleasure I derived from my existence in a virtual world. As I’ve mentioned many times before, my experiences as an SL avatar have become inextricably tied to my sense of self, no matter in which reality I find myself. I am Ahuva and Ahuva is me. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

I have a lot of things I’d like to say beyond my experiences in SL. I’ve done that before, but only intermittently. Now that so much of my work life is spent in community and social media, I find I have less time and energy for the things I enjoyed in SL. I am sorry for that – not being in SL more. But I am oh so very happy how both the who I became and what I learned in SL formed the “I” that I am today. From toying with my appearance to throwing myself under the bus to building and scripting and evenings at Tribeca and enjoying live music….. all of that brought me to the person who could step out for new adventures and experiences and growing in the world beyond SL.

One of my responsibilities in my current employment is to support someone in his blogging. He’s never blogged before. When I first met him, he thought the whole concept of “being social” at work was ill-advised. He sees things a bit differently now. We’ve discussed blogging: what do you say, how do you say it, how much do you say, how do you respond to people responding to you. I’m envious. I don’t think that blogging for him will be what it was for me. Different environments, different goals. But he’s finding his “voice” and he’s communicating what he wants to say and I – well I’m glad for him and I miss doing that too.

So I want to come back here. I’ve thought about what I might post. Most of what I want to say comes under the heading of “gee, I’ve really learned a lot in my life, come a long way, and I’d love someone to learn from what I say without having to learn it the ‘hard way’ as I did”. Blogging on that subject matter sends up warning flags in my psyche. I’m not sure I can do that. I’ve thought about writing a haiku a day. A coworker asked: how MANY days? Good question. “Every” day is a bit more commitment than I think I want. I thought about going back into SL regularly to do SL blogging. Again – probably more commitment than I can manage at this point.

I don’t know if or what or how I will share my “blog voice”. But this is a start. No, a reboot. *grin* Operating system update……

Is My Blog My Diary?

I don’t know quite what this blog is, what it should contain. It was easy when all I did was “factual reporting”. That’s how it started. Then it became more personal. All of it – SL, blogging.

I wrote a post this morning. It explains how I am feeling, what I think I might be doing in the future. Except…. I am reluctant to publish it. I have tried to adopt a positive outlook on life over the last few years. I have learned that even though I might be down in the dumps today, next week I may not feel that way. Even though today I may be preoccupied with emotions running rampant, tomorrow my calm rational side may rule (yes, I do SO have one. pffffft.). I’m opposed to making DECLARATIONS. Typically I end up over-turning them sooner rather than later.

So what do I do about this morning’s unpublished post? It is a true reading of who and what I am today. But I may not want to live with that recollection tomorrow. If it remains factually true, it reveals the pain I feel today. But what if it does not remain accurate? Or what if it IS accurate, but I prefer not to dwell on feeling low, feeling the pain? Should I let it simply sit there, my own outlet, and continue to focus on embracing the positive? I feel as if publishing is the proverbial kick in the pants for myself. There! I said it OUT LOUD! Now I HAVE to go forward!! But maybe it’s better to simply go forward, and skip the tears and drama?

I have to keep going forward no matter what. LOL. That comment reminds me of one of my very first posts. My coworker told me waaaaay back when that a blog was like a shark – it had to keep moving or it died. *grin* Well, the same is true for people. Maybe that is my answer.

Snapshots from Yesterday

This is NOT the post I intended for today. *grin* Now doesn’t that make me sound organized and thoughtful? As if I actually PLAN for my blog. 🙂 I really really want to post about the Crown and Pearl. I had so much fun there last week. But yesterday was a real treat for me in the way of seeing friends. So often we only get to wave at friends in IM. Then you look up and realize it has been days since you actually talked. That’s why today’s post is a snapshot of my stolen moments with friends.

zazeks wingszazek and I so rarely get time to play. We have hunted Easter eggs together, visited AM Radio’s The Red and The Wild together. But mostly we only exchange a few words in IM and then one of us has to run. Last night we actually had time to talk, catch up on life. 🙂 zazek is doing something that I can’t do. Even if I were capable of doing it – I probably would not be brave enough to do it. zazek began blogging a few weeks ago. “So?” you might ask. “Doesn’t EVERYONE blog these days?” Maybe. But zazek is not writing in her native language. I only know one language. I have a smattering of others but certainly no competency. Even if I KNEW another language well, I doubt I would be writing in it. So zazek has my great admiration and respect! Her blog is fun to read, too! *grin* Check it out for yourself.

torturing primsDark and I used to have time to dance and party and fly planes. Then somehow my schedule got totally out of control. We chatted periodically, but rarely ended up in the same SLURL. Yesterday we were chatting about building. I am still fairly intimidated by manipulating prims. I simply do not understand path cut and taper and shear. I know, I know – you all tell me to “try it, play, experiment”. I do not learn that way. I like having another human being nearby who can answer questions. Dark tp’d me to a sandbox to give me a quick introduction to torturing prims. *grin* I did my best – teasing a pink torus. But you can see that Dark REALLY knows how to torture prims. 🙂 It was a quick start, but he’s promised we can do it again. YAY!!! Thank you, Dark!

welcome home OuraOura got home yesterday. *hugs* Welcome back, Oura. I missed you. We started in immediately on girl talk, catching up on the week’s events for us both. I told her about my escapades at work, trying to move my AO and boots and hair over to opensim. We started inventory diving – looking for any fullperm boots and clothing. LOL. We tried on some pretty amazing outfits. bearsI promised her I would NOT take pictures or blog, so you will simply have to imagine the wet T shirts that we found. Is that okay, Oura? Can they use their imaginations???? Oura also noticed that my bear either smokes or the room was excessively cold, causing breath condensation. 🙂 Being in a silly mood, we somehow decided that the bear was indulging in a post activity cigarette. *grin* twinsSince none of the other bears were smoking, there is still some mystery here. We ended up standing on the bed, swapping freebie outfits, finally finishing the evening as twins.

I guess I haven’t mentioned work in the last few days. I’ve been involved with the usual building for the demos. We’ve been meeting with others trying to learn more about opensim and developing in virtual worlds. We’re making great progress, imho. We plan to begin demo’ing to folks next week. I’ve been attending meetings in a variety of virtual worlds. As you know, I really get tired of being “dweebie”. A friend wrote and gave me an AO that works in opensim, another friend taught me how to build my own AO in SL using the ZHAO. I bought poses and FINALLY understand (somewhat) what happens in my AO. Maybe I will finally have the courage to toss the 2 poses I dislike. 🙂 I have different hair as well. life with an AO,hair and bootsI have been learning to wheel and deal with builders and scripters. I’ve also been friending coworkers and enjoying all the cool lectures and such that are available. Have I mentioned recently how much I enjoy my job? And now I even have boots and hair.

Why do we blog?

The other day a friend and coworker gave me the link to his personal website. It contains photos, pictures, artwork, personal essays and opinions. It is extremely frank and honest. Although I didn’t notice any identifying data when I was browsing, it does contain his first name and names of family members and true details, so I suppose someone could tie it back to the proper individual. It does not appear to have been updated in awhile, but it’s still there. Nicely done, by the way. Many of my friends use their blogs to post deeply personal writings, about what they do and what they feel and what they think. I read such blogs with a mix of admiration and horror.

a-lot-to-think-aboutI do not consider myself an especially private person. I tell many people many things about my life and my feelings. While I’m not sure that there is any one person who knows everything about me (possibly my husband) there is no one thing about me that is not known by somebody else. I am the person you meet – whether here in my blog or in RL. BUT. That person is rarely the entire me. That’s true for us all – we are someone slightly different in every interaction. But I started this blog as part of my job. My audience was my coworkers and perhaps RL family and friends. I never anticipated what SL would be to me nor that this blog would evolve as it has. So when I write here, I am always aware of who may be reading. And I try to never post anything that will backfire on me if it ends up in my work portfolio. I try to never post anything that will harm my family, emotionally or in other ways. I try to never post anything that I will regret should I run for public office (um – that’s a joke, people). In other words – there is a lot that never gets posted here.

I have considered creating an alternate blog. its-good-to-have-friendsAn alternate persona. A place to vent and scream and tell all my hidden thoughts and feelings. But I don’t believe that there is anonymity in the internet. Ultimately someday somewhere somehow everything can be linked back to me. So that coworker/friend wrote: “…asked me why I keep this blog around. Why? For my children, of course.” He went on to say that he figured someday his children or their children or their children’s children (etc.) would Google (or the then equivalent) and find him and know who he was. Okay. I can understand that. But I don’t agree. That doesn’t work for me personally. My son does NOT really need to know who I am that intimately. He DOES need to know that I am human. That I have faced adversity and sometimes I have triumphed and sometimes I have stumbled. He does need to know that I have feelings and thoughts and passion and dreams. He doesn’t need to know the details, he doesn’t need to know my mistakes, he doesn’t need to see me bleeding on my internal crosses or to know when and how I’ve sunk to my ugliest self. He needs to know that such things happen and have happened and that life goes on. But for me – I think it is sufficient for me to say to him – “Yes, bad things have happened. Here is how it went.” And I can tell him without necessarily baring the full spectrum of emotion and detail. My life is not meant to be an open book to him, or to anyone.

confiding-in-a-friendDo I regret this decision, to NOT post my emotions? Oh yes. I certainly do. Many times. Many times in one day even. Maybe I’m a coward. But I simply imagine being faced with what I wrote on some other day in some other mood. And the impulse dies. For those times when the need is overwhelming and there is no friend to hear me, I write haiku. I’ve said before how I love the bare 5-7-5 meter. How I must pare my thoughts down. Forced to cut to only the basic point. You know that I love words and run on and on. Haiku forces a discipline on me that posting does not.

Am I a coward? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I am simply the wrong generation. My friend is my generation, but he hit the web long before I did. So I’m not talking “atomic age generation” necessarily. I am talking “virtual age generation” – that is, the time you plugged in to the virtual life. For my son and his friends – they have always been plugged in. They don’t know life without it. I barely remember life without it, it is so much a part of me now. But I remember enough to know that I don’t want my entire soul bared to the light.

I have seen several articles and stories about how people twitter something, email something, post something, etc. and that “something” comes back to bite them. They are fired, they are sued, they are arrested, they are divorced, they are stalked. And yet not a day goes by without millions of people continuing to bare their souls on the web. The number grows daily. Is it generational? Is it a cultural change brought about by something else entirely? Are we that alone in the world? That egotistical?

I am not saying that posting our inner selves is a “bad” thing. hands-stilled-in-my-lapI really don’t know that it is. I suspect that it will come to be the norm, actually. That the reluctance that I feel will be an aberration. But I am not there yet.

So much I need said.
Can you hear my silent screams?
Hands stilled in my lap.

Blurring Lines

Yet another confession.  I already admitted that I am totally addicted to SL.  It’s invaded my thoughts whether awake or asleep.  I haven’t had a day in weeks where I didn’t stop in at least briefly.  But now…… I’m very grateful and fortunate that my family supports me in this obsession.  Because I’ve begun writing down SL events in my FL calendar.  Yep, that’s right.  I am now arranging my FL calendar to accommodate my SL calendar.  So far I haven’t cancelled anything FL to attend SL.  But oh was I tempted once!!!!  So now I am putting SL events on the FL calendar in order to avoid conflict. LOL.  I’ve come a very long way from June 26, haven’t I???

And another mini-observation.  There’s nothing like a post about sex and love to increase your readership.  LOL.  I have a very small but loyal contingent of readers.  I very carefully did NOT tag my post Difficult Subjects.  After my Blogger’s Remorse experience, I resolved never to put anything suggestive or explicit in my headings or tags. But somehow even without tags word spread. Looking at my readership stats – more than double my typical daily readers. Hits coming in from new locations. Fascinating. We are ALL experts on love and sex. We all have opinions. We all know the truth. Love is vital to all of us. It’s a compulsion. I’m willing to bet that somewhere it is hard-wired in us: the need to talk about love, being loved, loving. I’m not being facetious – I’m very serious. Despite being an expert in the subject myself 🙂 , I learn so much from what other people write.

I really love learning about people. I love seeing what moves us, what energizes us. I love trying to understand why we do what we do. The blog and SL are a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and talk with others who find people as fascinating as I do. Thanks to you all!