An Unexpected Gift

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, meaning it happens long after the fact. What do they say about gifts that appear long after the gifting? There must be some equally apt phrase. Maybe it’s “good things come to those who wait”.

fricker1I have finally decided to upgrade my blog from a free account to a paid account. I have no good reason. Or rather, I suspect the final straw is NOT something that will be handled by a paid account. The last week or so I’ve been getting trackbacks from spam sites. It was annoying. I’ve also used over 75% of my media storage. I thought I’d investigate and see what I’d learn.

I had a wonderful, informative, upbeat chat with the online chat support. Do you know that they are called “Happiness Engineers”? I think that is a GREAT title. The person with whom I was chatting was a fantastic representative of that concept. She gave me a discount code to give me 2 months free. I noticed something odd when I went to pay. The screen was showing me a $15 credit, bringing the bill to $33. When I put in the discount code, the amount was just over $39. ???? I asked my happiness engineer where the $15 credit originated. She said “The $15 credit is applying the value you have left in your current plan to the upgraded one.” Well that was odd. fricker 3My current plan was a FREE plan, I had never paid any money to WordPress. The HE agreed my plan was a free one and she investigated further. “I show $15 in gift credit from a user named “Fricker Fraker” back in 2009. Dear reader, I kid you not – tears came to my eyes.

Fricker – I don’t know where you are, or how you are, but thank you, thank you, thank you. What a sweet, generous gesture on your part. Which is exactly how I remember you.

Ahuva ❤ Fricker

Giving and Receiving

I have a memory of having posted about gifts and presents before. Certainly I always think about it at this time of year as I listen to everyone around me agonizing over what to give and what to request. For me, gifts and presents are different beasts. I get lazy and often use them interchangeably, but when I am careful, I use them differently. A gift is something that the recipient wants. It doesn’t matter if you, the giver, likes it, thinks the recipient needs it, thinks it’s “appropriate”. The recipient WANTS a gift. A present is something that the giver wants to give to the recipient. The GIVER thinks the recipient should have it, should appreciate it, needs it, deserves it. It doesn’t matter if the recipient doesn’t really care for what’s being given. The giver wants to give THAT. Sometimes a recipient so desires a particular item that even if the present IS something that could be appreciated sometime, at the moment of receipt the over-whelming recipient reaction is despair, frustration and dislike. The recipient was craving the gift so passionately, so furiously, so totally, that all that can be seen in that moment is the “not-gift”, not any of the thought or care or consideration of the present. Even if the present will actually BE a gift in time. So what happens then is that the giver is angry and frustrated and disappointed, the recipient is angry and frustrated and disappointed, and yet – under a slightly different scenario they would have both been delighted and fulfilled.

I’ve been on both sides of that equation. I’m sure you have as well. I’m in it again at the moment although with something intangible. A dear friend of mine is in the same position. Presents are being offered. The presents reflect respect, value, trust. Except it is the gift that is craved. I know what to tell my friend, to tell myself. Smile, accept the present, recognize it for what it is, and try to forgive it for not being what it isn’t.

When I was a mere lass, I had already decided that appearances mattered. *grin* Oh, such a surprise to hear that from me, right? My sister is older than I (Oh MUCH MUCH older. *grin* oooooooollllllllllllduh) SHE had – gasp – makeup. I did not. I coveted her cover-up cream because although I did not have makeup, I had zits. Imagine. On the other hand, *I* woke up early and she did not. Not only that, she slept like a rock. She tells wonderfully funny stories of all the things through which she has slept, from bunk raids at camp to rock concerts in stone stadiums when she was seated next to the speakers. So, being the deceitful determined pre-teen that I was, I would sneak into her room in the morning, open the drawer where she kept the cover-up and TAKE SOME. I never got caught. *triumphant grin* Chanukah was coming. I requested cosmetics. One night, my wrapped gift was soft. It felt like a tube. It felt JUST LIKE my sister’s coverup makeup. My heart began pounding. I KNEW my dream was coming true. YES YES YES!!!!! No more sneaking into her room in the morning. No more lies and fear and deceit. My eyes shone, I smiled, I ripped the paper open, salivating. It was a tube of hand lotion. Do you know, as I type that, I still feel the ache in my chest. The disappointment. The overwhelming unhappiness. I think I smiled at my mother. I hope I smiled and said thank you. But all I remember, to this day, which I have to say is (gulp) decades later – the total “this gift stinks how could you possibly give me this and think I’d want it”.

Flash forward. I’m a mom. I don’t believe much in Chanukah gifts. I’ve tried to teach my son this. I thought he “got it”. Actually, my memory is that he got it. But we were talking the other day and he reminded me of his own coverup makeup story. Apparently he really really REALLY wanted an xbox. Game cube? I don’t remember. Some such thing. I’d thought I’d made it clear that was NOT happening. I guess I didn’t communicate that properly. I’d found an adorable “make your own bug” kit at a craft show. My son is so creative, clever, artistic. I thought he would have a blast inventing bugs. *grin* You can see this unfolding, can’t you. I gave him the gift. He was ungracious, to say the least. I took back the gift. Yeah, that was wrong. I was hurt and angered by his attitude. He was hurt and angered by my attitude and lack of understanding. In case you are wondering – we have both moved on and forgiven each other. I think. I know that he will never forget that disappointment just as I will never forget the hand lotion.

Is there a point to this post? Yes. When what you get is not what you wanted – whether it’s a tangible object or the reaction to what you gave – try to take a moment and forgive the giver. I am trying to realize that what I got was indeed a gift, not a present. It’s not what I craved. But in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones:

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need

Timely Presents

callis-calendarI posted the present pictures too soon. See – I told you this was really my first Christmas. I didn’t realize Santa would be delivering all the way up til midnight. 🙂 Time seems to be on many people’s minds this year. Dale made the wonderful 24-Hours-per-sim-sun-day-clock, which is up by my pool. I also got a 2009 calendar from an extremely talented photographer friend. Another friend gave me a regular clock, set to SL time AND the scripts so that I could learn how it works. 🙂 Never one to miss a teaching opportunity, huh? And since WordPress is STILL not cooperating and letting me click through, you can find the calendar here, although to see all the great photos you will have to come and visit me. To see the clocks more clearly, use this link in a timely fashion.

no-excuse-to-be-late-or-sunburntI also got a Humbug. I have to confess – I didn’t know what a humbug was. Is. I thought it was something that followed the word “Bah”. But apparently in the UK a humbug is a candy. Well live and learn. Everyday I learn something new in SL. (Teehee – learned the expression “on the pull” just last week. ) At first I thought perhaps the humbug was a chair. It actually worked quite nicely as a chair. But now it is lined up in my room along with the other wonderful gifts and presents. It’s going to take me a loooonnnngg time to deal with a piece of candy that size. Check out my humbug at this location.


Christmas Eve day with friends

1loading-up-the-dog-sled1Christmas Eve day started with ice in RL – everything covered. I skated from the front door to the curb to put out the recyclables. You know I thought it was dangerous when I allowed my son to go back to sleep and skip the 1/2 day of school he was supposed to attend. So rather than 2mushdrive in to my office, I logged inworld. Hey – priorities, you know? I thought I’d catch up on my holiday cards, sort my inventory, stuff like that.

Issa was on when I got here. We headed over to NCI to chat and catch up on things, see who else might show up. Oura and Jimpsky joined us. Issa was just about to log out when I thanked her again for the dog 3maestrosled and mentioned that I was giving it to friends as well. So much for going to sleep, huh Issa? She rezzed up a sled and Oura and Jimpsky piled on. They raced up and down the boardwalk a few times. Issa handed out sleds so everyone could race.
Then Issa pulled out her bass violin and began to play Christmas music. It was lovely, actually. Quite mellow, beautiful sound. Jimpsky pulled out his violin and joined in. Oura and I watched and listened for awhile. Then a concert piano appeared (I’m not sure who produced that – I think it was Jimpsky). I let Oura duet4have first refusal and then I jumped on the bench. It’s been a looonnng time since I tickled the ivories. Oura opted to adorn the piano. We had been playing for a bit when Suki arrived. Jimpsky pulled out a set of drums for her to play, but she opted to be the audience. We played on as more people began to arrive. Issa switched to her violin which not only played music (more Christmas carols) but also emitted Santas and Christmas tree particles. We were still lacking a drummer until Anna showed up. 🙂 Thanks Anna!

ensemble3As far as I can tell from previewing, WordPress is NOT allowing you to click the pics to see the larger size. Sigh. It wouldn’t let me link to the Flickr urls either. So I apologize for the small photos, but if you wish to see the photos, click here to get to my Flickr account.

My First Christmas

the-orrery-up-closeIt’s true. This really is my first Christmas. I have exchanged holiday gifts in RL, but it didn’t feel like Christmas. (Maybe because they were always wrapped in blue & white paper with Chanukiot?) But in SL it feels like Christmas for me, too. And it’s fun! No, I am NOT suffering any confusion, either.

I’ve been trying to tell you the-orrery-in-my-roomabout all the fun I had in SL just before I lost my internet connection. But I keep getting distracted. Maybe I’ll get back to it, maybe I won’t. There was fun at the Crown and Pearl, great fun flying Dark Air, fun (and not fun) learning to make hair, fun at the Winter Ball and fun hanging out with a new friend listening to great music.

I’m REALLY having fun with the holiday cards I’ve been receiving. People are SO clever and creative!!!! I’ve gotten many cards that have great pictures and witty sayings and express greetings of the season. But many people go beyond just a card and script and build the24-hours-per-sim-sun-day-clock most amazing things. Of course, more often than not I have forgotten that I should try to open the cards. So when I thank the sender, I often hear: Um, did you OPEN it?” LOL. I had that conversation with a friend about one card. Then immediately forgot to open the very next one. 🙂

winter-in-shengri-laI have even more respect and admiration now that I have begun touching the edges of building and scripting. I understand just how complicated some of these scripts can be. And their creativity!!! I am in awe. That’s not mere words – that is the truth. I am in awe of the things people decide to build. Without a doubt, some of the mostdetail-from-shengri-la-winter creative intelligent people I know reside in SL. I’d like to share some of their creativity with you. Keep in mind that most of these have animation. (Leave me ALONE, B – I am so NOT in the mood to attempt another video today!!! LOL) .

The photos on this post show my new orrery and a clock that keeps SL time. I simply adore them. What patience and precision to translate RL into something so wonderful in SL. I put the clock by the pool (don’t want to get burned from too much sun!) and the orrery in my bedroom. I’ve been staring at it for long periods of time. I wonder when and if I will ever be able to script things like these. crown-and-pearl-ornaments

There are also tree ornaments from the Crown and Pearl and a winter scene from Shengri La. A friend provided a quiet spot for meditation and relaxation for times when both RL and SL can be a bit too much. I realize as I look around my home, and see all these gifts, what joy these friends bring to my life. Not only joy, but such stimulation. Their creativity inspires me to try a little harder, put in a little more contemplation-station effort. While I may indeed gain technical competence, I’ll be hard pressed to match their imagination. But you know what – maybe even THAT will happen! I can always hope!

The last picture is not something that someone made specifically as a holiday gift, rideable-dog-sledbut I wanted to include it anyway. It was a gift from a dear friend of mine in SL. It is a rideable dog sled. 🙂 Yep, get on and ride! Even more wonderful – it is a full perm item. That means that when someone else sees it and likes it, I can give them a copy as well. I have already handed out 2 copies. So not only did she gift me, but she gifted my friends also! I keep telling you – SL is a great place to live.