Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yard Sale and Too Many Questions

We met up with the Oleanders tonight to chat and hang out while Lolita set up for our upcoming Arcade yard sale. I hope you guys come to shop! I've been making my list just based off of some Flickr pics I've seen, but you know once that shopping guide comes out, I'm going to give Aldwyn a heart attack. *laughs* I love the hours leading up to the event when the family is all together! This will be Birdy's first Arcade night with us so I'm excited to share it with her.

Yard Sale and Too Many Questions

Miss Berry came up with another meme for us - 20 Questions! Y'all know I like to talk, so here we go. :)

1. When and how did you discover Second Life?

I discovered it in 2006 through a former friend. She read an article about it, tried it, and since I was a huge Sims fan, of course I was interested.

2. Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them?

I had been part of a text based RPG that I guess was kind of like a virtual world, except we RPed without avatars. But other than that, no.

3. Has Second Life met your expectations?

I guess I didn't really have any. I thought I'd play hard for a couple of weeks and then stop, much like I did with the Sims. Obviously, that didn't happen!

4. If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself?

There are real people behind the avatars! Don't hurt them and hopefully they won't hurt you!

5. How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles inworld?

I was always pretty decent at flying. I'm still working on the driving. I'm sure I'll get it one day!

6. Do you have a mystery alt?

I do, actually! Well, she's not a mystery mystery, in that a couple of people know about her. But I use her to sell something silly on marketplace. I don't think I've actually logged into her in well over a year. Maybe closer to 2.

7. Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be?

I feel like my avatar is an extension of me. I speak to people in world basically the same way I would if I met them locally. My avatar looks how I feel inside. But through my avatar, I get to have some things [like the kids and being a fashion blogger] that I can't have/do in RL, so that's pretty cool.

8. Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How?

Pretty much everyone I meet in SL that I become close to inspires me in my RL in some way. But I think the one that inspired me the most was Renee. She taught me that no matter how bad I think my life is being, I can always find ways to be happy.

9. Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world?

I think it's probably faster to create a bond with someone online because we HAVE to talk here. If you meet someone in RL, you do things with them. Movies, dinners, running in the park, etc. Here, we chat. Even if we're out dancing at a party, we're probably chatting. You learn more about people that way.

10. Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life?

Oh yes. I'd seen it happen. I was a "regular" in a Yahoo chatroom from 1998-200something and many of the regulars there ended up falling in love before they met in person. In fact, I brought my bestie into the chatroom and she ended up meeting a guy in there who is now her husband! :) Funny thing is, I actually met him in person before she did. I consider him my brother in law now.

11. How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life?

Dating in SL, I assume? Well, hopefully I don't have to do that again. *laughs* I'm perfectly happy being Aldwyn's SL wife. If we ever divorced, I don't think I'd bother dating anyone else. Let's face it, who else would be able to handle allllll of this???

12. How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing second life?

I think it's been good for me to see that people can make money without being tied to a desk for 8 hours a day, or stuck behind a register. Going back into an office setting when I'm able to work again fills me with such dread, I want to cry. I was great at it, but man, did I hate it.

13. Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly.

Definitely the friendships. I have a few of my SL friends on my RL Facebook and Instagram, so it's fun getting to interact with them outside of SL. I can't think of much else because I don't really do much else in SL. *snickers*

14. If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix)

I think I would, actually. As long as I could still have time for my RL things, I'd love to be able to be more IN when I'm in world. I've had brief glimpses of it, like when we're "having a meal" with the family or something like that, and it's super fun!

15. How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is?

I think because people are mostly anonymous, they let the more negative side of their personality out. I see a TON of "I can't be bothered, I hate people, everyone sucks, I can't stand this/that/the other thing and if you like it, you're stupid" from folks and I know they can't possibly be THAT dang unpleasant in their RL day to day activities because they'd be punched in the face a lot. But I think it's mostly for attention, too. If someone is all negative and venty, people will join in because it's easy. Being negative is easy, being happy takes some work.

16. How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion?

Over the past few years, I've moved away from having to have the best of the best of the newest. I still have new things. I still have awesome things. But I'm not like other bloggers and I'm okay with that. I shop when I like something. I try not to think about how much I've spent. *laughs*

17. Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it?

I think the internet as a whole has redefined human interaction. Would I have friends in Germany, England, Scotland, New Zealand, without the internet? Nope. Second Life is a upgrade from chatrooms, which were an upgrade from bulletin boards, which ... etc. I've expanded my horizons. I think we'll continue to do that.

18. If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it?

I don't think I quite get this question. I think people who are close to me know what I'm feeling at any given time. If I really don't want them to know, I hide it, but that's pretty rare with the people I'm closest to. My SL/RL lines are blurred like crazy.

19. Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in second life alone.

Photoshop, home decorating, and... how to let go when I need to.

20. If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else?

I'll never have grandkids, but even if I did, by that time, they'll probably be running around in Fourth Life.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's too late for me to think of a funny title tonight

Oh my goodness, what a week! RL has been kickin' my butt! But things have hopefully calmed down [and I got a new router] which is a good thing because tonight was the last scouts meeting until the fall! The scouts are taking a summer break because of vacations, summer camp, and stuff like that. We did a make up badge night since throughout the scouts season, we've gained a bunch of new Bumblebees. So tonight we did space night again and we had a story [told by Lolita, and expertly acted out by Takeo and me!], went stargazing, and went back into space!

Bumblebees In Space Again

It was super fun, as usual! I am definitely going to miss our weekly meetings with our little Bumblebees this summer! I think all of us still want to try to get together throughout the summer, for camp outs and fishing and to just hang out. This was my first big "kid community" type of thing and I just had a blast getting to hang out with all of the kids every week. If you're a kid, I absolutely recommend getting into scouts next season! If you're interested in what goes on in both our troop and the other troops, you can check out the Sim Scouts Flickr Group to see all the fun!

After the meeting, the family hung out for a little bit since we have not all been together since before Lolita's and Riley's birthday party last weekend. It always so fun when we get to chat together and I get to say things like "Abby, I told you that you can't sell your sister" and "Hey! Calm your butt!" LOL!!

But after we said goodnight to the family, and after the girls went to bed, Aldwyn and I finally got a little bit of time together. It's been almost a week since we've been able to catch up with each other because his schedule has been crazier than mine! Luckily, summer vacation is coming up and we should get to see each other more often. Can you believe we've been together for 4 years next month??

A little alone time

And he's not even sick of me yet! LOL! It's funny how the "flavor of the month" becomes someone's favorite flavor. *snickers*

Although if he does ever try to leave me, I'm totes asking for child support. 18 years, 18 years, I got two of your kids, got you for 18 years!!

Okay, seriously, I need sleep.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I wouldn't sign up for this!

So it's no secret that a lot of us have covered up the parts of our avatars that we don't like with mesh parts. I haven't really seen my regular system hands in forever, and if I'm not wearing Slink feet, it's probably because I'm wearing boots. Now personally, I don't go for the whole thing - the mesh jutting butt, the aggressively huge mesh breasts, the mesh heads, etc. But a lot of people do like that stuff, and most of the kids in SL that I know have the Toddleedoo mesh body.

When Linden Lab said "Hey, guess what? We have new mesh starter avs!" I was intrigued right up until I saw some photos. Yikes.

Last night, Brianna and I were hanging out before bed and I was looking for a dress to wear tonight [we're having a double birthday party tonight for my sister and my niece!], I stumbled into the Library. Imagine my surprise when I saw that one of the new mesh starter avatars was named Alicia!! I almost never have anything with my name in SL! It couldn't be TOO bad, right?


Ridiculously Unattractive

Good LORD, what is this mess?! That IS a mesh body but it doesn't look smooth and well formed like you can get your body to look with other mesh pieces. The hair looks like burnt noodles, and the FACE. The face, y'all! I look like I've been in some kind of accident. I don't WANT this avatar to be named Alicia!

Brianna was also equally as horrified.

A little shocked

The other human avatars in the collection are about as equally as bad. But you know what's not bad? The zombies! I don't know if they just had different people working on these things or what, but the zombies are lightyears better than the humans. I really like the expression on the zombie guy's face.

Way better than a human

To make matters even crazier, if you're signing up for SL, the zombie and other non-human avatars are all under the heading of "Vampires." They should change that to "Fantasy" or something. But the girl on the very front page of the website is gorgeous, and I think if I were signing up, my first question would be, "How can I look like HER?"

I just don't understand why Linden Lab would allow the human avatars to be so so ugly when they could have hired any number of amazing meshmakers to make something wonderful for the new residents. I don't know how many non-human avatars are out there in Second Life, but just from my limited view, I see mostly all humans. To put a newbie in a mesh avatar that they cannot change [these bodies are not modifiable] and then thrust them into a world where there are some really gorgeous avatars seems like bad business to me. Don't get me wrong, the default avatar is not the best either, but at least seasoned Second Lifers can help someone look a lot better in really a short amount of time. These are so ugly, all we'll be able to tell a new person is "Take EVERYTHING off. It's hopeless."

But, if you want to be a zombie and get your thriller dance on, at least that looks good.

Zombie Mom

Friday, May 16, 2014

You'll Be In My Heart

Tonight was scouts night, and since we're winding down for the season [there is a 2 month summer break], the kids had a make-up badge night so that if anyone didn't get their fishing badge, they could get it tonight.

Bumblebee Fishing, Take 2 - 1

After scouts, usually the family hangs out for a bit, but tonight as the kids were saying goodbye to us, we looked around and OUR kids were gone! It was then that Takeo told us that they actually had a late Mother's Day surprise for Lolita and me! How sweet is that??

We were tped over to the Oleanders' home and were met with gifts and the kids choreographed a dance to "You'll Be In My Heart" for us! I wasn't able to get a good picture, so here's a gif that my sister did of the kids. :)

It was just all so sweet! We seriously have just the best kidlets in SL.

For our gift? The kids got pictures done by Melaniebianca Lyric! I have been wanting to get a picture done for the girls, so this was really just the best gift they could have gotten me! Riley, Payton, and Raven had one done for Lolita, too! This is the one of my girls.


It was just such a great night, and great to have everyone together. The next couple of days will be different because Aldwyn will be out of town tomorrow night and busy Saturday, and Abby is busy Saturday, too, so it might be Sunday until we're all together again. Maybe the girls and I can work on the post I keep meaning to do on how to enter the kid and family community with as few issues as possible.

But right now I'm sleepy and happy, so I'm going to bed while I'm still smiling.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hashtag Blessed

Are my posts about how happy I am getting annoying? I feel like they are. I'm sorry! [butnotsorry]

Tonight my family went to bed earlier than me, which is kind of rare these days. Usually there's at least 2 of us who go together at the end of the night, if not all of us. But tonight, Abby went to sleep early, then Brianna went to bed early [for her]. Aldwyn and I had some time to hang out while I worked in our backyard and then he went to bed, too. So then it was just me, relaxing outside near our new pool, thinking about how blessed I really am.

Hashtag Blessed

Okay, so, here's the thing. I am AWFUL at outdoor decorating. Landscaping, terraformimg, etc. My big thing is just to throw a lot of trees out and call it a day. On the off chance I have an idea, I work really hard to get as close to my idea as I can, but... my ideas are better than my skills. :) Tonight's idea was to put out this awesome pool/patio thing I found in my inventory. The problem is that it looks very out of place in the yard. I've been looking up lots of backyard ideas to see if I can figure out a way to get it to look more like it isn't just some thing I threw out there, but I just don't know.

In other news, I finally rented out my 2 open parcels on Bluebonnet! I was getting reallyyyy anxious that they were still not rented. In the almost 6 years that I've had Bluebonnet, I've usually had a waiting list of people who want to live there. But I guess money is tight for a lot of people these days, because some people who were interested were suddenly not interested after hearing the prices, even though my prices are pretty average with other land rentals these days. I get it. Money is tight for a lot of people, but you don't get all the prims for free! The day Linden Lab lets me pay in sparkles and smiles, then I'll let people come have all the prims they want for free. :-p

It's after 3 am, I really should sleep.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Finally My Own Day

In my offline life, I'm not a mom. I always wanted to be. For more than 10 years, it was my dream. While all my friends were having "oopsie" babies, I was obsessively testing, making charts, taking my temperature, etc. Sitting in the doctor's office and hearing "The chances of you getting pregnant are almost slim to none" was probably one of the more heartbreaking moments of my life. But at the same time, it was good to hear. At least I knew.

Of course, that brought up the whole topic of adoption. "Why don't you just adopt?" I was asked this a lot, as if adoption was as easy as just going to the store for a loaf of bread. I'd always smile and shrug, then change the topic. I didn't want to tell people the truth. I felt that adopting would be putting the nail in the coffin of my baby dream and despite being told by my doctor that the dream was already basically gone, I couldn't admit defeat.

When I came to Second Life, and I heard about people having kids here, it made more sense to me than I admitted at the time. I was a little iffy on the idea of kid avatars, but still, it made sense. If you can come to SL and be anything you want, and have everything you could never have in RL, why wouldn't someone like me think about having a family?

So fast forward to the present day. I'm a mom in SL. It's been probably the best thing I've ever done here. I love having Abby and Brianna in my life. I was happy when it was just Aldwyn and me, but now... I didn't think SL could make me this happy!

Last night, the girls put together a little surprise for me. Balloons, pink flowers, all kinds of stuff!

Mother's Day

They made stepping stones for me, which I'm going to set up near a bird bath that I've kept meaning to put out. Plus they held signs until their little arms got tired.

Stepping Stones


And they baked a cake, so they were a huge mess. *laughs* Daddy Z is gonna have FUN cleaning up!! [And he also took the kitchen pic, because my computer is a piece of junk these days and I was frozen most of the time.]

They made a cake

I get to celebrate Mother's Day because I feel like a mom to these two girls. When the cashier at the store wished me a Happy Mother's Day, it didn't stab me in the heart the way it's done in the past 10 years. I simply thanked her and wished her one, too. I get to be a mom in SL. Some people might not get it, and that's okay. It's not their business. But I'm a mom, and happy, and SL has given me that.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms. Whether you're a real life biological mom, an adoptive mom, a SL mom, the mom to a pet, a dad playing both roles, or you just have a motherly influence in someone's life, you're definitely special. ♥

I love them so much!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

So much more than I deserve.

After a whole day where none of us were able to get in world, we were all super happy to be together tonight. Even if it was just one day, we missed each other!! In fact, we hadn't seen Daddy Z since Thursday, actually. Well no wonder we missed him!

I've been having a really strange thing where it takes forever for Aldwyn's body to actually pop up for me. He's just hair and mesh clothes and shoes. Yes, my computer sucks, but everyone else rezzes fine. In fact, if it was just a body issue, the girls wouldn't have faces either. Just their toddleedoo bodies and clothes and hair. I don't get it. It's seriously ONLY him. Maybe he needs to be around more so my computer actually recognizes him? *laughs*

But after he finally popped up, and the girls changed clothes, we settled down to take our first proper family photo together.

Well, after I crashed and then had to wait another 10 minutes for Aldwyn's body to pop up again.

But it was worth it, because they're pretty adorable.

The Zanzibars

I'm so happy we were able to finally get a picture together! Birdy has changed a LOT since we met her, going from a blonde regular sized kid to a brunette toddleedoo. And Abby has changed skins and tweaked her face some, too. I think my girls are so cute!

I really think more than anything, we're very lucky that Brianna fits in with us as well as she does. I love that as time goes on, she gets more and more comfortable with us. Tonight we stayed online for a little bit more after Aldwyn and Abby went to bed, and when they left, she immediately hopped into my lap which made me so happy! It was a little thing, but kind of a big thing, too.

Okay, I'm rambling a bit. I need to go to bed so tomorrow I can actually blog something before certain designers come and kick me in the head. Goodnight!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Oh heyyyyy.

It's always kind of weird to me why people go to very obviously family friendly areas and then act like having kids there is some kind of craziness.

Last night we took our Bumblebees to a school place that had horses to ride and kites to fly. A couple of losers were there who just acted like it was some personal offense to them that kids would be in the area. We were on voice, of course, so they started just saying horrible things. I muted pretty quickly, and we told the kids to mute, too, but it was still uncomfortable.

The kids are pretty awesome, though. They took it in stride, some thought it was funny, and the others just have been through something like that before so they just did their ARs and then went to fly kites. The Gilmans came to distract the losers while we got the kids up the hill and then the losers were banned from the sim.

I know some people would probably say, "But it's not like they're not adults behind the avatars!" Duh. We're not stupid. :) But to us, they are kids. Especially when we are actively RPing, like for scouts. We try to make SL a safe place for them to play because it's fun for us, too. Some people just don't understand why you'd come to SL and not be overly sexy, or combative, or just a huge troll. Attempting to just have innocent fun is above their heads, and that's sad.

But one place that is totally safe is our home. :) And speaking of home, I have a couple of parcels open if you'd like to make Bluebonnet your home! One parcel is large, 12512sqm/2863 prims. I can split it if necessary, but would give first preference to someone who wants the whole thing. The second parcel is smaller corner piece, 2944sqm/673 prims. You get to do your own terraforming and landscaping, and the sim is quiet, usually mostly empty [except for an hour on Thursday nights, or the occasional party] and of course it is family friendly. This is residential land, but if you have something you want to do like your own photo studio/gallery or a garden, talk to me about it and we'll see if we can make it work. :) IM me in world if you're interested in prices and/or seeing the parcels!

And really? Who wouldn't want to live near us? We're adorable!

The Zanzibar Girls

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 365 - All Endings Are Also Beginnings

And so we come to the final day of my 365 Day Project. It took me almost 2 and a half years, but hey. I did it. :-p

I had a lot of thoughts of what I wanted my final post to be. I wanted it to be insightful. Maybe inspirational. I wanted my photo to be perfect. But as I got closer to the date, it became clear to me how it should end. I still wanted my photo to be perfect, though.

When I started this project for the second time, I was coming off of a year that was probably one of the most stressful of my life, but one that also had a few high moments. We had just had our 3 month SL wedding anniversary and we were very much in our own tiny world. Heck, even just looking back at those first pictures of 2012, we even LOOKED younger. I was not even wearing that much mesh! :-O

But as the year progressed and went into 2013, I realized that I was lonely. Not when Aldwyn was with me, of course. But when he wasn't with me, I was often alone. I knew I needed something more, I just didn't know what. I was scared to let anyone into our bubble. I didn't want to enter anyone else's bubble. Then one summer day last August, I took a landmark and answered a question that started a whole new world for me.

As the end of this project started to come, and our trial with Brianna went on, I knew how I wanted to end this. I wanted to end it with a beginning. A beginning, and a perfect picture.

Day 365 - All Endings Are Also Beginnings

After Lolita dumped us from the sky after scouts, I got this idea in my head that for her surprise adoption, we should go skydiving, as falling from the sky and laughing was kind of Brianna's introduction to the craziness that is our family. I found the right target and the right parachutes. I put together a pretty note, lights, sunflowers, and sparkles. She and I jumped time after time last night so I could make sure that she would get right in the vicinity of the target. In my head, it would be perfect.

But nothing is perfect in life, and I think that's what makes it so beautiful! I sent the family up in the skydiving pod and jumped out immediately, running to the target to put the sign and everything up. Then I heard SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! Abby, Lolita and Raven fell to the ground without their parachutes opening. Brianna went sailing off into the water way on the other side of the target. I was DYING and laughing and yelling "Okay! Everyone run towards the target!!"

I was laughing and nervous all at the same time. I was shaking. Brianna said she cried. Aldwyn would not rez for me even after 2 relogs and a cache cleaning. Once he finally did, I just laughed and snapped a picture. This wasn't the perfect adoption I planned, but it was perfect for our family.

[21:09] Second Life: Brianna Serendipity is now known as Brianna Jade Zanzibar.

So this is the end of the 365 Day Project for me. It's a new beginning for our family. It's not the end of blogging for me. It's the beginning of a new chapter.

Thank you if you've been reading for a while. There is definitely more to come!