Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Almost ready to trip and trade

What a week it's proving to be!

I'm in the final throes of organising my forthcoming trip overseas to Germany and will be heading off this coming Saturday.

I leave behind my dear husband and kids to fend for themselves for about three weeks.


On top of this, DH will be opening our business up again for trade at the new premises early next week! I won't even be here to see that small milestone!

We have been married and in business together for 18 years! Life seems to be in flux and spinning us around as if we are on a wheel! I never expected, in a million years, to be travelling at the same time we'd be changing our business location.

I could have perhaps post-poned this trip but that costs money. As it was, it cost a bucket load of extra cash to change our planned flights to Darwin we missed out on over Christmas.

I weighed up if I should perhaps change my timing for going to Germany but have decided that under the greater scheme of things, it's more efficient and economical to just go and do it and then come home ready to put in a solid effort into making a living for the rest of the year.

The kids...and hubby... are going to survive! :) it IS only three weeks!

Whether I will survive is quite another question *gulps again* I am having travel dreams now, mostly stressing out over my stop-over in Bangkok of all things. I'm sure it will be fine, but those 5 hours flopping about in an airport terminal have a mysterious, thriller-esque quality to them that is making me feel a little squeemish to say the least!

The days from now until Saturday are picking up speed exponentially. Technically I really should be on the PC in the other room sorting out a lot of paperwork and I'll do that shortly. I need a shower too! It has been very dirty, dusty work today moving stock and general "stuff" from the old shop to the new. Bakeries are not the cleanest places truth be told. We do our best to keep the dust bunnies at bay, but there's only so much flour one can remove before the next haze has settled again. It just goes with the territory of foodservice, that there will be a balanced choice made between keeping certain things scrupulously clean and what other things can be safely left another day.

But! Looking at the new shop today I am quite proud and pleased. What has been accomplished in a matter of 8 weeks is nothing short of astounding! In a bizarre twist, Baz's illness has forced our hand and made us get things happening that have been so slow in coming for the past 4 years to date! That time out over the new year has given us a window of opportunity we'd not have had if we'd been still trading from the old shop!

Sometimes, God uses the testing times in our lives to make other necessary stuff happen! :) For this providence I'm particularly grateful, even though I won't get to experience the newness of it for a month or so.

Understandably, baz is very nervous about using the new oven, but I personally think he'll fall into the work again like a duck to water and fall in love with his brand new shiny oven as well by the end of next week. :)

I've packed and re-packed my poor suitcase trying to keep it under maximum weight allowance. Danged hard you know when one is travelling from very hot to very cold weather! How many thermal underwear vests does one need do you think? My suitcase seems to be mostly laden with hardware like chargers, mini discs and shoes, rather than actual clothing! I just hope German opportunity/thrift shops are abundant if I am a bit light on with the warm clothing :)

So anyway, trepidation abounds on all fronts here. Excitement and terror mixed together like an explosive cocktail of delight and/or anxiety. I suppose it will be perspective that chooses the resulting flavour.

Wish us all God speed and Bon Voyage into our future. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a fine romance

Now, I realise that this will sound a little silly really, given that this sort of product has been around for quite some time now; but, I've fallen totally in love with iTunes!

I've used iTunes sporadically for a LONG time! But have not really done a whole lot with it as such other than listen to iTunes Radio stations! Today I "discovered" some of the audio treasures available in the iTunes Store and bought my first download from there! A fond revisit to some of my favourite music from my early 20's :)

Of course, now all this has me writing a wishlist with the view to acquiring "new" music in times to come :)

I have downloaded music off the net before but never from iTunes itself as such. I recently acquired the new Radiohead album direct from their site and it neatly slotted itself into iTunes without any help from me! :) I think that kind of simplicity and synchronous deployment is just beautiful in tech huh? :) (Yes! I paid a fair price for "in Rainbows" thanks. No guilt here on nicking someones' hard yakka!)

Along with Preciousss here (my MacBook), iTunes syncs beautifully with all kinds of media.

Uploading CD's from our collection to iTunes over on the PC was always a bit of a tedious process, clunky and not very efficient I thought. Here on the Mac however, it's simplicity plus! The Apple guys just know how make things WORK without the stodgy, frustrating and convoluted stress! It's quite simply a revelation for me!

In the past day or so, I've easily uploaded upwards of 60+ CD's, with a fair few to go too :) It is proving to be a fun and edifying process. I am now going to be able to listen to music I don't often to get to hear, other than in the car!

Between the personal CD collection and the amazing variety of sound in iTunes Radio, music takes on an other-worldly dimension unmatched since the advent of the first sound recordings!

So, Okay? Now I AM blushing! I get it now maybe! hahaha

Saturday, January 26, 2008


A very few of the people here in my first life are questioning if I have become addicted to Second Life.

I possibly am.

It has been holidays more or less for us since the beginning of January...at least it was for the first two and a half weeks. I indulged my hobby in that time and spent a great deal of time building and talking inworld. It was a lovely cathartic and enjoyable space for me.

First Life cannot and will never be superceded by Second Life.

As I said, Second life is an extension of ones First Life, not a replacement!

Flesh, blood, reality, physicality, face2face, meatspace: whatever you want to assign to First Life, Second Life will never match it on those levels at all.

Besides, it is busy again now as we get sorted on setting up the new shop. My hobby will be relegated to the odd hour here and there in my day, once more, while First Life responsibilities dominate our days.

No biggie!

I confess to being a bit cross with the well-meaning folk who suggest that I am "losing it" on this one. That may or may not be a symptom or sign of addiction, I don't know; however, when was someone last chastised for playing golf, or sewing, or scrapbooking, or simply playing?

Is it because it's on a computer that my hobby makes it less acceptable?

Yes! I agree that computer addiction possibly exists and might be a problem and a threat - even though research is suggesting it is perhaps more a compulsion based on underlying emotional issues within the individual using the computer than on the tool itself.

You might want to suggest I am also "addicted' to food too! And if I have a glass of wine, I could be lumped by some into the "alcoholic" box!

Addictions are prevalent yes! Some people are susceptible more than others. If I am one of them, then let me come to that realization and choice myself. I am perfectly aware of how much time I spend on my computer. I am also perfectly aware of how it can affect my loved ones and my objectives in First Life. I will balance these things accordingly.

A computer is more than a box of neat tricks. It is a device to think with. I don't care much for what goes on under the hood, but I care very much about what it delivers to me in terms of human contact, information and ideas, and creative expression.

THOSE things I AM addicted to!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

half way through a lifetime

Yesterday... 22nd January 2008... I had my birthday and turned 46 years old.

I am, to all intents and purposes, halfway into my life!

What I have been and where I am going is my unique stamp on the world. *I* have created impact on this planet just by virtue of my being here! Everything that makes up who I am is cause and effect for some other "thing" that happens - then, now, to come!

Chaos rules the bounds of structure in time, place and person after all. What *I* do to... and what is done to *me* is every bit as important as waves, earthquakes, winds and weather!

I live ON this planet and I engage WITH it along with all the other multitudes of life that exist here. Separate but not indivisible really under the *laws* of Creation.

My "goals" for the coming half of my life to its end?



Solitude but not isolation!

I think...at this moment anyway...that I want a life that is unbound.

I want the freedom internally to be myself without constraint either by my own or others choosing.

I want amazing CLOSENESS to certain people from my past, in my now and in my life to come. A closeness of soul, intellect, emotion and physicality. I don't want to be beholden to these people out of obligation or ambiguous societal notions of morality...but I do want to be connected to them out of Love and selfless interest. I just want to LIKE and LOVE the people I like and love! No obligations, no expectations, no justifications or imposed beliefs required.

I think I am called to a solitary life... not necessarily what you might expect though. A solitary notion of inner being more than a physical reality as such. I MAY indeed become "solitary" in my physical environment! That is common in people who enter their twilight years anyway but I don't expect it right now of course.

What I mean is, I think I am by nature and by intent, within my natural temperament, to be Solitary inside of my being. An inner core of gentle calmness within the self-state of supra-consciousness; one that is neither overly confident but nor is it undermined by notions of self-deprecation or "smallness". It is a state of self and one that can be shared with others in proximity. It is not so much about being alone but it is about the comforting reassurance of quiet self-company! A state of inner Grace that is not aware of itself... it just is.

The first half of my life was learning how to master my Machiavellian narcissism born of my fears of abandonment and rejection. I am a hyper-follower wanting to be my own individual self but also fearing to be rejected for that very thing! I just always wanted to "fit in".

Now I know I don't have to anymore.

I crave Solitude away from the group mind, because I as I grow older, I see so very much more clearly, how effective I am in my work if I am unrestrained or unhindered by the expectations of that mind!

As a balance to this though, I suspect I will always battle with the dichotomy between being Team orientated and group focussed and that craving to respect and indulge my Solitudinous instincts!

I believe that I will be a very different person in this next half of my life than from the one I have been. For good or ill, I don't know!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Why I stopped called it "Real Life"

Up until recently, many of my posts in regard to the similarities and differences between the virtual world of Second Life and the life I live in my physical environment have been differentiated by two phrases; Second Life and "Real" Life - SL and RL.

I have since revised this to First Life as opposed to "Real Life". SL and FL

My Second Life is every bit as "real" as the other life I lead.

I have a "home", a place to rent, friends and places to see, things to do in Second Life which to all intents and purposes are just as important to me as the friends, family and things I do in my First Life.

My First Life is charachterized by its physicality. I need to eat, sleep, engage face to face with family and friends, neighbours and bank managers. I need to get the washing done and the toilet cleaned in order for that life to be enjoyed and lived positively as and when it counts.

My Second Life is characterized by its enduring visual appeal and communications. In Second Life, there are people to meet, friends to discuss issues with, new things to learn, places of interest to create and see. I don't "need" anything in Second Life that isn't directly related to 1) creative expression 2) other people or vice versa!

I've said it before and I will keep repeating it. Second Life is an EXTENTION of my First Life. It is neither a game, a mere past-time or a singular "hobby". It is every bit as important to me as the meeting I attended at my local church last Tuesday evening in my First Life.

Just as sewing is important to my mother, Second Life is important to me. Sometimes it might be perceived as an "escape" from the First Life "realities" of existence in this corporeal form of Human. But, most of the time it's simply a different expression of my creative and social nature AS a Human.

My SL won't replace or supercede my FL. But my FL is infinitely richer and more rewarding because of my SL.

jane austin genius

One of the things I promised myself on hearing I was "going blind" at age 25 was to read as many of the classics of English Literature as I could before I died.

I have no where NEAR accomplished even a 10th of this promise... even though I can proudly claim to have read both the Iliad and Homer's Odyssey! (Please don't ask me to tell you the plot, I got completely lost in the first chapter of both books! Too many gods, too many ships and too many silly men!)

I have never actually read any Jane Austin books in full. I have always been a little cynical of romantic literature despite a passion for M.M. Kaye and H.R. Haggard and P.C. Wren (ahhh Beau Geste! What a tale that is! *purrs with pleasant memories*).

I have seen quite a few movie adaptations of Janes work though and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.

There is a new modern variation on the JA theme coming to the cinema's at the end of the month. I hope to catch it either at the cinema or on DVD. I am positive I will enjoy it very much.

The website for the movie has this intriguing introduction.

Jane Austen is famous for her spirited and independent characters. Today's world may be far removed from Regency England, but we're still as preoccupied with the complexities of marriage, friendship, flirtations and social manners and mores as Jane Austen's characters were at the turn of the century. Take The Jane Austen Book Club quiz and learn which character from the film is most like you.

so true!

We are exactly that! Preoccupied with the complexities of all relationships both First Life and Second Life! It's our inherent nature to strive for that constancy of Love in our lives.

It strikes me though, that most of our striving is about "us", our SELF: the ego-centric capacity for reciprocated love returned. Maybe this is a cynical belief about the narcissistic nature of most people. We are, of course, quite capable of empathizing with and sustaining relationships based on altruistic love for the other but I believe these kinds of relationships are rare and of course extremely precious.

Most day to day relationships are more about me-It where the "you" in that equation is more an object rather than You. This means that what I gain from you as a person is an objective sense of reward of some kind be it emotional, physical or material. I am in it for whatever gains I might find appealing to my sense of worth. Some of us don't progress very far from our baby-hood in our innate belief that the Universe revolves entirely around our Self!

Our sense of survival runs so deep within that our complex emotional and social makeup, physiologically as well as spiritually demands we do the best we can to "get along" with people to the best of our ability in order that we too get the pay off that that may bring! That we CAN empathize with others is a remarkable gift of human evolution and/or Divine Creation! We can intuit and scan the emotional inner horizons of others and relate to their way and state of being and loop into that mindset, reciprocating those same emotions and joining with them in an empathetic dance of mutual understanding beyond mere physical survival. We can only ever hope to have that same level of attention paid to ourselves by others.

Love IS a kind of essential food group! It is rare for a person to eschew genuine love. We are nourished and sustained not so much by the food we eat as the love we share. The operative word being "Share" here. We give what we get and we get what we give! Sometimes we must give it forward and sometimes we can give it back. It's not a two-way thing is Love - it's a viral thing, spreading OUTWARDS beyond the initial conduit of its development.

Long ago, Ms Austin appears to have instinctively and intuitively understood the inner drive of human beings so well, she documented them in stories that have become modern Aesop's Fables of sorts. These stories still to this day, fully resonate with the common traits of all human beings across centuries. Its not about what we DO - its how we go about doing it that counts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Second Life as a study in social dynamics

Second Life is seductive, addictive and intimate. It is jolly good fun.

Like Odysseus wanting to heed the Siren's call even as he was strapped to the mast of his ship, I find myself caught between the call of Second Life with its sheer fun, play, friendships and inspirational ideas and the sludgy entrapment of my First Life world with its mundane "duties" and other such responsibilities.

A scene in The Matrix describes how the human being is essentially being used as a "battery" for a vast machine. Our bio-electrical chemistry can be harnessed to generate a sordid, mechanical, austere, hard and blood-thirsty "life" on a post-apocalyptic planet despondent with darkness and barrenness of soul.

The humans who flee being a mere conduit of power for the hungry machines, endure vast hardships in order to remain "free".

One of the characters, Cypher, tires of this hard life and snitches on his fellow compatriots, in exchange for opting out of this life of drudgery and fear and reverting into being a battery again where his body is plugged back into the mainframe but his mind is fed this wonderful imaginary, completely seductive and beautiful "Reality" of existence. He wants to BELIEVE he is a powerful, sexually potent, wealthy and beautiful character inside this imaginary tale, fed into his brain by the machine, which itself, feeds off him.

Second Life has the potential to do the same for many people in this current life we know. We would rather enjoy the freedom inside our imagination even while under physical duress and stress than deal with those stresses and responsibilities in our first life for real!

That is a dark and rather alarming prospect but seriously? Why would ANYONE want to struggle for attention, affection, understanding and admiration in this life when these things are so easy and exciting to grasp hold of in Second Life? The allure of virtual worlds is the escape from the mundane after all.

Second Life is fundamentally about creativity and relationship. We can have either or we can have both. We can be as creative and as imaginative in our expression of our skills and abilities as we want to be... AND/OR we can create the Tribe we want to be with; one which promises to meet our emotional, intellectual and even to a point, our physical needs for intimacy and connection.

I've mentioned before that you can choose to be anything you want to be inside Second Life. You can create a persona that you feel "best" illuminates (or even hides) the true essence of your first life persona. If you choose not to use the voice facility this makes it even easier to create yourself into whatever you perceive yourself to be. You are the hero/heroine of your own story! It may write itself but you control the depth of that process.

As society fragments and we each become more and more isolated physically, in our first life (A recent report into population projections for households in Australia suggests that by 2026, 15.3% of our population will be living in lone households*), virtual worlds will play an increasing role in maintaining our need for social contacts. These contacts will begin to take on significantly more meaning over time to the point where cyber marriages and long-term cyber relationships as a whole, will become increasingly recognized as formal social alliances. The raft of political and legal implications in this trend will be enormous! The new world order of virtual community will begin to create a major impact on physical real life community. The cross-over will be ubiquitous, chaotic, and increasingly difficult for governments of all kinds to control or organize.

This will have both advantages for individuals and also, I believe, gross disadvantages for other socio-political reasons. Not everyone who uses SL is ethical or looking for connection with other like-minded souls...the ability to manipulate people in a virtual world is every bit as real and as potent as it is in FL - and much harder to recognize!

Still! Second Life right now in its toddling first steps as a "new" social paradigm, is effective in transcending time, place, gender and identity. It gives the world a new way of perceiving the Self, the Other and the "Us" of relationship and expands the possibilities of creative process and endeavor.

So while my sense of organization and order in my First Life is being severely undermined by my tendency to engage inside Second Life: while my FL bed stays unmade, my FL work is in a sort of stasis, my FL world is in this rather dreamy, sluggish, meandering mood of summertime laziness; I am compelled and drawn to escaping into another world of my own making and design...the world of my imagination assisted as it is by software and technology.

FL is simply boring at the moment! On the other hand...my Second Life is awash with energy, burgeoning friendships, creative pursuits and even "real" work of sorts (manipulating prims IS hard work you know! :)).

I could not give a fig about the bed I sleep in or the food I eat or the dishes in the dishwasher (hey? at least they are actually IN IT!)... just let me tweak trees and shrubs into position in "my garden"; talk to H and M, the Major, dear Archer and my virtual Landlord in conversations that energize and feed me in so many unspoken ways.

Second Life and the myriad of virtual worlds that are already available to people are here to stay. There may be darkness on their horizon but it won't be any less frightening that the cruel darkness of mundane responsibility we potentially face every waking moment of our First Lives.

(* cited from http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/48723/20050812-0000/acsr.anu.edu.au/APA2004/papers/7C_Jain.pdf)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

update for rita

... some people have very generously come forward to express some concern for "my" well-being this past week due to the fact that I've not posted for awhile about baz's progress and health. This post is to those people with my gratitude :)

All is ticking along. :)

I am fine and am rather enjoying the down time for a bit while the weather is so intensely hot outside.

Baz is enjoying the down time snoozing in front of the tele and awaking to realize he has missed whole sets of The Hopman Cup! *giggle* He is sleeping a lot and I suspect that that could be a side-effect of the medications he is currently on.

He is calm and mostly reasonable but also a little "closed" too, but that is okay for now. We are both regrouping and finding our centre again after the emotional onslaught of the past month.

I still admit to feeling distant from and somewhat angry with him but its more muted now. I just want him well enough that we can start earning an income. As I have taken charge of some of the financial decisions in our family of late, it's hard to feel very confident that we will be looked after financially as I see our small cash supply slowly dwindling on everyday living expenses.

A part of me keeps saying "The money will come!" and indeed I know it will. I have given up being just too worried about financial outcomes and am learning to allow things to happen as they will and must. A rather large account from the accountant will need some negotiation on payment terms though. S'okay, we will survive :) We have incurred a few small personal loans from family and friends which we will pay back with interest in due course. Money is a fine blessing and a terrible curse. When we place too much emphasis on it it tends to distort what blessings we do (or don't) notice.

The new shop is coming along. We have probably one of the most blessed gifts anyone in this situation could be given and that is the gift of dedicated and helping friends. Our closest friends are stepping up and filling in where we cannot or dare not and its amazing what has been achieved in a couple of weeks with their determination and enthusiasm. If the new shop had been left to me to organise on my own, it would never have gotten this far! I have absolutely no idea about painting, "bogging", cutting in and cabinetry. Thank God for handy friends eh? :)

The kids are taking it all in their stride. It's school holidays and being the self-obsessed teens that they are, they seem to be skirting around this past months life-glitch with equanimity.

I'm still planning on leaving for Germany on the 3rd of Feb. The kids will most likely have the rudest shock of all with mum being "on strike" for nearly a month. It IS time they learned that the dishes don't wash themselves and that clothes need to stay folded in order to look good when you want to wear them! The iron is not just that heavy, odd-shaped thing in the cupboard... it's USEFUL and sometimes necessary!!! hahaha! We will see. The mother bird is tossing her babies out of the nest now and MAKING them fly all by themselves! It's time!

Even if our business isn't officially opened by the time I leave, at least baz will have his leisure to get it set up and slowly discover his love for his craft again in due course. When I get back from my trip, we will do the big public Grand Opening splash :) I am looking forward to doing that! I LIKE doing public awareness campaigns! hahaha :)

Time is ephemeral right now. There is the hint of pressure but it is sort of far-away and has this weird, warpy feel to it. Things feel slow and a little bit dreamy. Not really urgent...not even overly "important" even though there are many things that are!

I feel well though. I am excited about my forthcoming adventure and I am content within myself. Life is flowing without having to push and shove just too hard. I guess that shoving will have to come in time and I WILL work hard this coming year as and when I must. In the meantime, I'm kicking back and letting the flux of change go around and around while I stay centred in the hub and enjoy the view.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Dear Alexys tagged me for the current cyber-chase game around New Years Resolutions.

I was honoured but also a little chagrined too. I don't put a lot of faith in my NYR's. Most of the time they're mere wishful thinking and not concrete objectives at all.

It's all well and good to say one is going to "lose" 10kg but its quite another to give up the very foods that helped you gained it in the first place! :)

So... I am only going to "half play" this game today. I am not going to post the special box with all the other bloggers notions and protestations on NYR's. Nor am I going to tag anyone new for this game. I AM going to explore what it is that I resolve to do with my life as I see it from this end of the year 2008.

First of all I resolve to be more loving. It's actually quite difficult for me to be a genuinely loving person. I hold myself back from demonstrative loving behaviour, unless there are two conditions involved; a) I have known the person/s for some time b) I believe them when they tell me in word and/or deed that they love me too.

I'd like to be more genuine in the way I love. To love more outrageously than I have in the past. I'm not sure its possible really. It's a scary idea.

This isn't about "love" in the erotic sense of course but the other vast varieties of love that exist between people. I want to be able to genuinely LOVE people without the cautious barriers, the cynical undercurrents of suspicion and guardedness. I want to love people just because... and attempt to let go, a bit, of that cool distance that so protects me from being wounded.

So what else is after that?

Not much really.

There is NOTHING in all time and space that can compare to Love. It's all there is in the end.

In this crazy, mixed up, frightened, disastrously abused world of ours, I reckon just the resolve to BE more loving is about as much as anyone could ask for in a year. Everything else I get done is gravy :)

With Love comes Peace.

With Peace comes Joy.

With Joy comes Hope.

With Hope comes Faith.

With Faith comes Love again.

PS... if you have a blog and would like to join in the game properly (unlike my very half-hearted effort here), then I encourage you to cut and paste the section from Alexys posting on the subject and go for it :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Dreams of 08

Today, New Year's Day 2008, I am reminded of a kind of "dream" I had quite some months ago.

In a series of moving pictures inside my mind (It was a kind of lucid dream I think) while sitting at the PC across the room here, I imagined the following thing.

An old fashioned racing car, coloured green and emblazoned with the number 08 on its side. I couldn't find an accurate image of it but the one shown here is very close to how I imagined the car.

Now that it is "08". I am rather strangely and suddenly reminded of this image.

Was it a portent of some kind? At the time of the vision, I had no idea what it meant and it was mixed in with a bunch of other images too that flowed from one to another. Of course my memory of that dream is now disjointed and I have forgotten some of the pieces to it but certain elements stand out clearly.

Racing into 08?

I'm not sure. To be honest, I do believe in the potential of dreams to provide a forecast of the future. The Old Testament is rife with this kind of oracle of the prophets, through whom God told his people, in imagery, what lay ahead. Interpretation though, in this current age, isn't easy though; we seem to have lost the ability to understand and translate visual symbols for ourselves without clever and energetic Hollywood editing!

The elements in this racing car are surreal for me. For one thing I do NOT know anything about historic f1 racing vehicles and have not really followed the history of this sport. Why I should dream of this specific type of vehicle is strange. I will say that I have always liked the "shape" of these older f1 cars better than I like the shape of current f1 cars!

The colour green is my favourite. That deep, rich emerald quality green that is strong but not violent. I feel best when I am surrounded by the depth and richness of this colour. To me it has clarity and strength even while it reminds me of the calm peace of nature. Diamonds are beautiful but seem cold and heartless against the depth of a true emerald.

The number 08: Well my only hunch is the fact that today is the first day of 08 like I said! Why this is important is anyones guess. I do suspect that this coming year will be a very full year of many delights and challenges...but then most years are like that eh? :)

And so I am left wondering and not a little perplexed as to why this image, of this weird little car, has come back to me this day.

What do I intend for this coming year anyway?

* I intend to travel and am booked to fly to Germany this coming February. For the first time I'll meet my friend Martin and his family face-to-face instead of communicating over the net :) Am I nervous? Not really! It should be a fun month. Its close to two years since we met on the Genius Workshop and its not often that you stumble onto quality friendships that can go the distance.

* We, as in baz and I, intend to work on his wellness and health. The main thrust of this will be to establish an Action Plan that we can have ready to help him in the event of any further mania attacks. Of course, prevention will be our key priority.

* We also intend to open our new business premises so that baz has better working conditions and hours. The old premises is now shut permanently. I'm trying to organise some financial assistance from the bank to cover ourselves while we're not generating regular income. We expect to have the new shop up and running within the next couple of months. Even while I'm away for three weeks in February, baz will have time to make the shop work for him, first time, without the pressure of having to actually produce product too. If we get it open before I leave...then that will be good too. He is really looking forward to being back and doing what he was put here on earth to do...making great food :) (Some people fall into a career that is such a good fit for them they are a genius at it...my baz is one of these lucky people)

* One thing I do want to do this coming year, but which terrifies me even more than spending 5 hours in Bangkok Airport... and that is to figure out what exactly I SHOULD be doing with my writing! There is this gnawing desire deep within me to write "something" that would make a difference. To say I'd like to write a "novel" seems inordinately silly. I am terrified of the concept and all manner of excuses why I CANNOT do something like this immediately come to mind.

As a wife, mother, and business owner, my time and energy is split in many different ways. To find time to write and to enjoy the writing process can be frustrating and even draining. Frustration is the writer's biggest motivation killer!

I KNOW there is a story inside of me there somewhere! I just wish it would magically appear into the prefrontal cortex of my rational brain, so I could just get it out through my fingers onto the digital page!

When it comes to writing, I am no technician... I'm shocking at really polished writing as readers will attest. At best, I'm probably more the raw, emergent type writer as coined by Dave Pollard recently ... (I am still blushing about that :)). The writing just "comes" when it wants to without any help from me.

* I intend to keep up with my German language lessons. I'm getting better at being able to pick up the language I hear spoken and reading some of it but I totally SUCK at being able to construct and say my own sentences! It's very frustrating but I don't want to let this hiccup beat me. I suspect that if I can ride over the top of this challenge, it will click soon enough and I'll finally be able to say what I want to say without getting it "wrong" all the time!

Though it's hard to predict what the coming year will bring, I find myself a little apprehensive about it. Usually I am quite hopeful and positive about the coming of a New Year. I have always enjoyed the pleasure of starting afresh on a new page so to speak. However, this coming year seems to weigh on me a little today. It feels sort of "heavy" with unknown pressures and difficulties. It's a perspective I do hope won't continue for long.

Focusing on these rather gloomy feelings will only make me notice those occasions that occur this coming year where these feelings fully resonate, so my aim now is to consciously place my focus on the good moments I experience in this coming year and to savour them with attentive, in-the-moment joy.

The goal for 08 then for me is "Notice the Joy of your moments".