Maypril Update?

Okay, okay, okay. I know. There wasn’t an April update. I actually DID start writing one! Really, I did! But I got distracted and wandered off and then tried to write more on it and got distracted and wandered off and… well, you see where this is going. πŸ™‚

But, April was a decent month, and so far, May has been as well.

You Can Rest, But Never Quit.

(And yes, I’m brunette now. I think that has been the biggest change of the past two months.)

YouTube has definitely been taking up a good portion of my SL time. I have fallen completely in love with livestreaming! I love doing my regular videos, too, but livestreaming is so much more fun because I get to chat with people at the same time. I also have done a couple of videos with people and that was super fun! I’ve always said that blogging is often a very solitary project, but YouTube can be as well. Being able to interact with people in different ways is REALLY awesome to me.

Oh! And earlier this month, I did a live presentation out at the Blogger & Vlogger Network. I just talked about my vlogging experience and took some questions. It was SUCH a good time! I’ll link the livestream to that at the end of this post, just in case you want to see it. It’s about an hour and a half long, but my real talk was just in the first 20 minutes.

Let’s see, what else… Well, I’m working on learning how to do my lighting better in SL for my photos. The picture I have above, that was just one of me trying to play around with windlight and projectors. I have a tendency to just coast along with my pics for a while when I’m doing other things, but you can’t coast forever. You need to always be improving how you do your hobby.

We’ve seen our whole family a little more this month than we have in a while, because birthdays and stuff. I’m happy about that because I love family time and it makes me feel better when people are online. The girls decorated the house and gave me gifts yesterday for Mother’s Day, which was incredibly sweet. And I did a video on landscaping with my sister! You should check that out if you haven’t.

I mean, really… Things are good. I’m super busy with SL and RL lately, but it’s not a super overwhelming busy, thankfully. I am still trying to figure out how to balance everything I want to do in the time that I have to do it, but I am horrible at time management in general, so that would be a struggle even if I wasn’t really doing anything!

I guess that’s it for the moment. Before I get distracted, I guess. *laughs* I will try to update again soon! ❀

(My livestream from the BVN talk, courtesy of Miss Strawberry.

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It Really Is A Wonderful Life!

Okay, so, I started to write a blog post around Thanksgiving and I even have it saved in my drafts, but I got busy and didn’t finish it. Ooops. πŸ™‚ I can’t say I’ve given up on this blog entirely. I probably never will. But Aldwyn was right. [Although don’t tell him I said that.] I basically took this blog and plopped it over to my YouTube channel. Now more than ever, actually, since I’m doing Vlogmas. I love doing the daily vlogs a LOT. They are SO fun!! But I admit, I will be glad when Vlogmas is over. Today will be my 14th one and I’m almost out of things to talk about!

Vlogging is a weird thing, if you think about it. Vlogging in Second Life, especially. If I were a real life vlogger, I’d go about my day and film here and there and edit it together. And I could do this in SL, and probably will once Vlogmas is over, but right now my days are pretty set. I sit down, I get everything all set, I record for a good 45 minutes to an hour, and then I spend the next hour attempting to cut down the vlog to – hopefully – less than 20 minutes. It’s pretty solitary work. I mean, blogging is, too, unless I drag someone in a photo with me. But other than that, I’m alone a lot in my work. Which… probably works best for me, so I dunno what I’m even complaining about. Not that I’m complaining. I’m just talking. *laughs* Vlogging has helped me to meet new people, and although I make no money off of YouTube, I’ve been invited to a few groups and that helps offset some of the costs of things that I usually buy, which really is quite helpful and I am grateful.

But things in my SLife are pretty good in general. The girls are happy and very excited for Christmas. We *have* to find time to “go get” our tree this week! I have a space in the living room that I’ve cleared to put the tree, but getting a Christmas tree involves heading to a tree farm, and posing for pictures, and our schedules have been random lately. So that’s actually my goal for today, once the vlog is done. I have to start on some poses for us for the photo. Plus we have to do our holiday photo, too. Lots of poses to make, lots of pictures to take. But that is my life.

Speaking of which, I have been wanting a better photo of Aldwyn and me. The last one I have of us together, it was snapped pretty quickly while we sat up in the bedroom. It looks like we posed for it and all, but we were just sitting while he finished some work before bed. *laughs* So romantic, huh? After he logged out last night, I logged him back in so I could make a pose for us. Sometimes our height difference REALLY is a problem when I’m doing standing poses. There was one I wanted to do but there was just no way. I would have had to stand on a box or something. So I ended up with us sitting.

It really is a wonderful life!

I’d prefer to have him on when I do photos and poses, but there just isn’t time. Especially when it takes me almost 2 hours to do something because I can’t be happy with the first 5 things I do! So it’s probably best for him that I just use his avatar while he’s sleeping.

I don’t know if I’ll blog again before Christmas, although I will try. But if I don’t, and you are not a vlog watcher, then let me wish you and yours a very happy holiday! ❀

A Little Bit Of Balance

So we had our first official family-of-6 meeting a few nights ago. As with any SL family, there comes the time after an adoption where you’re out of the bright-shiny-omg-this-is-soooo-happening phase and start transitioning into the “Oh hey, we’re actually a family now” part. And I think that for a lot of families, that’s when things kind of fall apart. They want the bright and shiny new feelings constantly and that is simply not possible. And truthfully? You shouldn’t want it to be. Because the part that comes after is SO much better. But it’s also the part that requires a bit more work. And yes, making a true family in SL does require work. It requires you to put time into it and it requires you to be able to talk things out when necessary.

Aldwyn and I are the type of people who like a lot of communication when something comes up. Good or bad, we want to be able to talk things through. We were having some growing pains as a family, so [after an urging from my sister!] I mentioned to him that we should have a family meeting. Naturally he was all for it, so when I figured out a night we’d all be online, I told the kids we’d be sitting for a chat that night.

Okay. *laughs* I don’t know WHAT goes on in other SL families, but despite the fact that I told the kids several times that this was not a BAD thing and that no one was getting shipped to Heritage afterwards, I could just FEEL the tension as we were getting settled in. My sis told me to expect it, but I just didn’t. I figured me saying “hey, we’re just talking, everyone will still be here after the meeting” was enough. But they were tense and I could feel it.

Then came what I’d like to call the MEETING FROM THE PITS OF HELL.

I’m totally kidding. *laughs* It was really good, actually. We brought up our schedule for May [so many parties!], I had a chance to tell them some things I personally need for a bit more balance, and they brought up some things that they’d like to work on as well. And I’m really lucky that I have the kids that I do because they didn’t make me feel guilty at all for needing my late night alone hours back and that was something I was definitely struggling with. They get stories and wind down time and our attention in the evening, and I get to know that I will have some time to myself or with Aldwyn after we send them to bed. Pretty win win!

A Little Bit of Balance

So that’s kind of a behind the scenes look at a tiny part of what goes into family life in SL. I know a lot of my readers have mentioned to me that they love reading about my family and things we do because it helps them decide on whether family life in SL is really for them or not. I’ll be the first to say that it does take some work. The shiny and new feelings are what draws people to adopting or being adopted, but that part doesn’t last forever. It can’t and truly, it’s not supposed to. You become a family. You have different happy times. You, hopefully, spend enough time with them to share in fun experiences. And yes, sometimes you aren’t thrilled with how something is going and you need to fix it. But if you’re very lucky, your family is willing to listen to you so you can find the balance that makes family life just that much better.

Why, yes, I have SecondLifed.

I’ve been working on our little park area the past two nights. It’s getting there. It’s actually quite comfortable now and I kind of prefer to spend my SL time outdoors rather than in the house these days. Aldwyn and I were sitting out there last night and his biggest question was “Do we get wifi out here in the park?”

Duh. OF COURSE WE DO! *laughs*

Why Yes, I Have SecondLifed

Strawberry made a new meme called “Have you ever SecondLifed?” It just so happens that I have, so I decided to answer the questions in my long winded way.

1. Have you ever owned a sim in Second Life?

* Yep! I’ve owned Bluebonnet since September 13, 2008. Want to come live near me? I have a parcel open! IM me to find out more! /shameless plug

2. Have you ever created content in Second Life?

* Of course! I sell like 10 of the famed Blingis a month. I have no idea WHY I sell them, but people seem to like it enough to pay me a $1L for it. *laughs* I also do nail polish for Slink hands on occasion [not often any more] and I used to have a store back in 2008 where I created random things like belts that had stuff hanging off of them and crappy prim furniture.

3. Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life?

* Soooo many times. I’m not very good at driving, though. I’m much better at walking.

4. Have you ever gone sky diving in Second Life?

* Oh God, yes. I even have my own skydiving pod thing. Remember, skydiving is how we asked Birdy to be our daughter!

5. Have you ever played a sport in Second Life?

* Hmm. You know, I really don’t think I have. Unless you count bowling?

6. Have you ever gone clubbing in Second Life?

* Ohhhh yes. I spent the first year of my original SLife basically living in a club that I worked at. We’ve been going a little more often lately with Lolita and Takeo when the kids are in bed.

7. Have you ever fangirled/fanboyed someone in Second Life?

* Unfortunately. *laughs* Before plurk and before I got to know creators well, I thought most of them were just these intimidating, amazing things. I still find some of them amazing, but it’s hard to fangirl when you know that most of them are eating pizza and hanging out in their PJs while they work in Blender.

8. Have you ever taken a picture of your avatar in water in Second Life?

* Multiple times. There are many things in SL that just look crazy, but Linden water is really one of the things that SL does exceptionally well, and it’s nice to take pics in it.

9. Have you ever taken a picture of a sunset in Second Life?

* Many many times. I used to always put our houses so that our bedroom window would face the sunset. Of course, with windlight, you can basically make sunset wherever you want. Sunset in the north? Sure!

10. Have you ever taken a nude picture of your avatar in Second Life?

* Um, duh? I’d say most women in SL have. Heck, most men, too. Plus, I was a SLuicide Girl when the blog was active and that required a lot of naked. Ms. Trixie Belle, at your service!

11. Have you ever dated in Second Life?

* Nah, I just told Al “We’re getting married” when I met him. *laughs* Of course I have! Not lots, but enough. Dating in SL can be incredibly fun! And even when it’s not fun, it can make for some fantastic stories to tell later.

12. Have you ever had or attended a wedding in Second Life?

* Yes and yes! I’ve been to more weddings than I can count [I’m a great wedding guest. Invite me to yours!] and we had ours in 2011. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, it was beautiful!

13. Have you ever drank, smoked or taken drugs in Second Life?

* My favorite thing for a long time was finding the drinks that would have you stumble around and fall down drunk! I still have one of those “Eat your piece of the sunshine acid!” things that puts a big wavy psychedelic thing on the screen, too.

14. Have you ever engaged in sexual activity in Second Life?

* Berry, you are SO nosy. But yes. πŸ™‚

15. Have you ever been to Bukkake Bliss in Second Life?

* Yes! We used to go when there was nothing else to do, usually on an alt, just to be jerks. I have an alt named… Busty or Chesty, I can’t remember now, and I made her look like Snooki circa 2009 [btw, have you seen Snooki now? She’s grown up well! She’s so pretty!] and I’d be stumbling all over Bukkake Bliss while people were trying to get it on. Got hit on a lot, but most of it was just “Come sit on this poseball.” No thanks, noobfreenie. No thanks.

I really gotta go remember that poor alt’s name. I have a feeling I left her at Bukkake Bliss.

Just As Good As Always

In my RL, long hot baths are not really possible. Even long hot showers aren’t great because my skin hates me and gets itchy, dry and gross. I don’t usually mind in the summer because it gets so hot here sometimes that even our cold water comes out lukewarm. But there are times I want to take a really long, super hot bath and I have to ask myself if I want to be itchy for days afterwards or nah. The answer is usually nah. *laughs*

But since my skin in SL is beautiful always, I got a chance to relax in my mermaid tub, which I FINALLY was able to put out because I wasn’t lagging like crazy!

Just as good as always

Yep! Even in SL, long baths are just as good as they always were. And as silly as it sounds, it really was relaxing for me.

I don’t know if you guys read New World Notes, but there was an article today about Cube Republic and he said that SL has really helped him manage his trigeminal neuralgia – which is a really nasty chronic pain condition. Read the article, it’s short but good. But what Cube said made a TON of sense to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder many years ago. I don’t respond well to most medications that I could take for it. One drug that I do take when it gets super bad, I have to take half of the pill, even though it’s a very low dose, because a full pill will leave me almost unable to function the next day. SL, especially in the past 3 years [although not as much in the past 6 months with my computer issues!], has been instrumental in allowing me the chance to manage my anxiety without medication. Or at least, with a lot less medication. πŸ™‚

In the past couple of days, I’ve been reminded of the help that SL gives me. I can distract myself with pictures and exploring. I can laugh until I cry with my family instead of growing increasingly frustrated that I can’t run around with them. And I can set up an oasis in our home where for a few minutes, I can just soak in a tub that won’t leave my skin itchy afterwards. And when I get into bed tonight, I can think about all of this and feel less anxious. Even if I only get 5 minutes of relaxation, it’s so so so worth it to me.

How Sweet It Is

So for the past couple of years, I’ve been working on a computer that is painfully outdated. The video card was decent enough and all but it was just too old and patched together with bits and pieces of extra parts. Heck, I was still working with Windows XP despite the fact that everyone was scaring me by saying I NEEDED to get at least Windows 7 immediately. But I made it run and I made it work for me because unfortunately, the budget just didn’t allow for a new computer. At least, not a new computer that would run Second Life any better.

The past few months have been rough. Any thing I’ve done with the family has been done with a lot of crashing, or I have to derender EVERYTHING around me to just stay with them. All the pictures I’ve shown that I didn’t take from someone else’s Flickr have been done with my computer grunting and wheezing next to me. But I kept going because I love SL, I love taking pictures, and what else could I do? SL helps me more than any drug when my anxiety gets really bad, especially since my anxiety attacks usually happen at night when I can’t go out for a walk or anything. I love it.

But even with my love for SL and my family, I’ve been getting more and more discouraged. All the decorating I did in our house was done slowly and with a LOT of freezing and crashing and I couldn’t really be in the house anyway. It was easier to be out on the beach, but not that much easier. I couldn’t visit my girls’ rooms or go see the Oleanders or go shopping at any events until almost the last day. Staying up on my platform was basically becoming my SLife. I started to just not want to log in at all.

I’ve been hoping for the past few months that maybe for my birthday this month, I could talk to my RL partner about a new computer. But a few weeks ago, we had to have work done to our house that put pretty much everything out of the budget for a while. The joys of home ownership, am I right? *laughs* So I put the thought of a new computer out of my head and tried to figure out how to make mine chug along a little longer.

However, I forget that my RL partner pays more attention to me than I realize sometimes.

This morning I was getting myself ready to head out to see my parents for the day when a very normal-for-us thing happened. I heard a THUMP! Then a DINGDONG as the doorbell rang. Then VROOM as a truck drove away. My RL guy is kind of an Amazon freak so we get packages delivered almost daily. [these packages almost never end up anywhere except in the living room, unopened. I dunno.] On my way out the door, I noticed the big box on the porch said DELL. It’s not too uncommon for computer equipment to end up on our doorstep due to his job. For the briefest moment I thought, “Wouldn’t that be nice if it was a new computer for me?” But I put it out of my mind because I knew it couldn’t be for me.

But guess what? IT WAS!!!!

When I got home this evening, he came out of his office and handed me a box. “This is a power supply. You need to open up this big box, then open up your computer and pull out your video card and hard drive. Then pull out the power supply in this computer and install the rest. Good luck.”

Well. *laughs* I’m not the most technical girl in the world, which he well knows, so he DID most of it because I was unscrewing things that didn’t need to be and obviously I don’t know where everything goes. But I did help!

After installing a few things and then going to get dinner, I was ready to get into Second Life.

Holy… I’d forgotten how FUN it can be! My sister pulled me over with them and for the first time, I didn’t have to immediately start derendering her landscaping. I could cam all over their land! I could run around with the kids! We went shopping and I was able to chase Riley all over the sim! We went to look at hair and I was able to do Gyazo gifs for the first time ever! We went to try out dances and I had no problems! After I said goodnight to them, I was able to go shopping, then do to a blog post with shadows! I could run around our house and then sit and enjoy it.

I’m so so happy right now. And so dang grateful that I’m as loved as I am – in both worlds.

How Sweet It Is

Day 275 – Falling Leaves

Quiet night tonight. Now that our house really is decorated, I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do. *laughs* For the longest time, I kept saying “I need to decorate!” and it always gave me something to do OR a reason to procrastinate. But mostly tonight I stood around until Aldwyn got home. I guess I could have bothered the family to see what they were doing, but I’m still pretty bad about that. :-p And I think we’re all just enjoying being back in our homes after hiding out during the home tour!

After Aldwyn went to bed, I realized our party area was still up, so I went to dismantle it. But then I wondered what would be done in that area. Usually it stays kind of empty, but I already have trees set up. So I think tomorrow I’ll decide what should go in that area. Maybe a camp site? We did a camping party theme one year, maybe it’s time to revisit it.

While I was in the area, I decided to take a new profile picture. I’m going more reddish/brownish for the autumn season, hair wise. Well, probably. Today, yes. πŸ™‚

Day 275 - Falling Leaves

By the way, since I’m such crap at blogging my own stuff, I made candy corn nail polish for the SLink nails, which you can see in my picture. Actually, I made 3 colors to simulate that autumn mix candy. If you want to buy it, I threw the polish up on marketplace, and it’s only $50L. They’re not the best polishes ever, but I think they’re pretty cute. πŸ™‚

I guess I should get to bed. I’ve been yawning like crazy for a while and I have things to do tomorrow. Goodnight!