Friends – I Has Them

I am quite blessed to know some amazing people in Second Life, and to have some of my most treasured real life friends as, also, a part of my second, virtual existence. If you'll give me leave for a moment, I'd like to give a little bit of space to them.

Rosie Barthelmess - pictured here - is my best friend in both worlds. She has been a constant in my life since we first met online years ago - connected through our rl-blogs - and I simply cannot imagine either life without her as a part of it. Rosie has been my go-to person for personal crises, a shoulder I lean on when life brings me down, and one of the very few people in this world I will - and can - truly open up to. She understands me, innately, and even still likes me. In fact, she loves me to pieces; as I do her.

Rosie has really taken to Second Life; doing things I could only ever hope to imagine. She has opened her own jewelry store, Sable Rose Jewelry, where she creates some of the most beautiful, one-of-a-kind, high-quality pieces in Second Life. She has a few stores, Filataponic, Sn@tch City, along with her main shop at Gallinas. She also has work up at Xstreet. I do suggest checking her out, and I don't just say that because she's my best friend. Her work is truly lovely and unique, and deserves to be seen.

As well as being a content creator, Rosie has recently begun tentative steps towards becoming a live singer in-world. I am amazed, truly, for the thought of singing live in front of anyone makes my toes curl in nervous apprehension. Nervous or not, Rosie belts out tunes with her powerhouse voice and everyone is charmed. Some people are simply born golden-throated and with a natural ability to sing and Rosie is one of these. If ever you get a chance to see one of her shows, I do suggest you make it a point to stop in. You won't be disappointed.

Rosie amazes me every day. Whether it's her Mama Bear-approach - an iron fist in a velvet glove, to be sure - helping run Lounge of Dreams, where we both work, or her tireless efforts to raise money in-world for cancer research through Relay for Life, spinning tunes as a well-renowned DJ, pursuing her dreams as a singer, or spending hours piecing together beautiful jewelry pieces for SL residents, she always has time for a friend. She's quite the powerhouse, but you'll never hear her act like top dog or thinking she's better than anyone else. She won't put up with any shit or be taken for a fool, but she also deals with each person honestly and openly, with a shy smile, a flirty wink, and a pithy comeback. She's brave, intelligent, warm-hearted, funny, down-to-earth, silly, business-minded, fair, and all around beautiful - inside and out. She is, quite simply, one of the most awesome people I have ever met and anyone who knows her is quick to exclaim how much they "love Rosie!"

I know so many beautiful, wonderful people in SL and I'd be here all day trying to name each and every one of them. Many I know from Lounge of Dreams, others I share a home with at the beautiful Four Corners. Still others I have simply met in my travels, or knew them before they ever stepped into the metaverse. All are special to me; each makes my life better for having them in it.

One that stands out is my dear, dear friend, Belmont Roux. Bel and I have been rl-friends since 2000, when we met at the apartment I had just begun sharing with my childhood best friend. Quirky the both of us, we hit it off immediately and - throughout the years - have remained good friends. We became especially close right before he left Louisiana for Nashville, TN to pursue his Master's in Music, and I urged him to get back into SL (where I'd had him dabble a bit before - both of us, also, being total geeks) so that we could continue to hang out and do things together, even if it was just virtually.

Eventually, Bel got back into SL full-force and was recently hired as a new host at Lounge of Dreams, for which I am so excited for and proud of him. I know he'll be a great host; anyone with a sense of humor that keen and side-splittingly funny is sure to keep a club full of avatars in stitches. Bel is, hands down, one of the funniest people I know. He could be a stand-up comedian, for he has no qualms taking on any subject and being "politically correct" isn't even in his vocabulary (which I love about him). He is a sweetheart, and I do adore him - my Mom and sister are two of his biggest fans, and we even created a "fan club" for him when he lived down here in Louisiana and was on television and the radio doing traffic reports. His quick wit and big heart make him a special guy, and we are in talks to be married in SL - I would be quite proud to be Ms. Izzy Roux-Graves (or Ms. Izzy Graves-Roux, I'm still not sure which sounds better).

I am blessed to have such special friends; truly I am. Be sure to tell the people in your life that you love them and how special they are to you, for we are not promised tomorrow. In the last year, death has visited my family twice in a short span and it reminds me how each moment should be treasured and that you can never say "I love you" or "I am so happy you are in my life" too often.

Back in the Saddle (Again)

I have been away (yes, again) from my second life for months now; pretty much since the death of my grandfather on June 5th after a sudden illness that left him in a coma for the last week of his life.  He was like a father to me and I absolutely adored him.  There's no other way to put it.  Losing him has been so hard, and I thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

I have slowly been easing my way back into the metaverse, poking around, doing some shopping, and posting over on Izzy Chic, my fashion blog.  I was in-world this weekend going through my "away" messages when I saw one from the Lounge of Dreams employee group; Petra Paderborn needed someone to cover for her the coming Sunday's 6-8pm shift.  I considered for a brief moment, then fired off a notecard to Pet (who was no longer online) offering to take the spot if no one else had yet stepped up.  I figured if it was meant to be, the spot would still be open and I could resume my hosting duties in at least some form.  Petra came back with an excited and thankful note and that was it - I would be hosting again for the first time in many months.

Before I knew it, Sunday had arrived and I logged in with about 30 minutes to get ready for my come-back hosting gig.  Getting ready is one of my favorite parts of any SL event; I love going through my inventory and putting together the "perfect" outfit for the occasion.   It was Gender Bender for the theme, so I put on some gray slacks, black button-up shirt, and dark gray blazer.  I kept it simple but sexy, silver hoop earrings, but some sexy, spiky black boots.  I completed the look with a very short, sleek bob cut and a make-up with blackened eyes and red, red lips.  I opened up Notepad and typed up a few general, host-worthy text statements (about tipping, contributing to tier, posting to the LoD Flickr group , etc.) for ease of cut & paste, carefully worded the group notice to send out to our VIP members, and affixed my "Dreams Host" tag firmly above my pretty, virtual head.

I wasn't nervous, instead I was quite psyched.  It was my first time hosting in the new build at Baylor's Haunt (which is amazing, go now and check it out if you haven't yet) and I was excited to get up on the spotlighted, ultra-cool hosting stage.

What can I say?  It was amazing to be back and the warmth and genuine excitement I got in the many "welcome backs!" and "we missed you, Izzy!"s thrown my way made me smile.  When Guen - who was temporarily DJing until our resident tiger DJ, Phant Nabob, made it in - welcomed me back over the stream and said how much I had been missed, I'll admit, I got teary-eyed.  Silly, no?

I suppose one might think I am not as dedicated to my secondary, virtual life because I am not as invested in it as some of my friends.  My attention wanes frequently from one interest to another, but I always come back to my favorites.  Before my grandfather passed, I was really getting seriously back into SL with my fashion blog, Izzy Chic, and (so far incomplete) photo blog, Izzy Pics .  Leaving was not really my choice, but I simply did not have it in me to be social or interact with anyone.  I even rarely talked to my beloved Rosie over instant messenger during the past few months.  It does not mean I love her - or any of you - any less.  Just that, as I know you all understand, I needed some me-time to go in, reflect, and begin to heal.  Death affects us all differently and I regret receding into myself instead of reaching out to those that care and would want to help me; yet, that is how I deal with traumatic events.  I internalize.

I know I don't have to explain any of this or make excuses; rl > sl, as we all know.  I know that you all understand; perhaps, and sadly, all too well.  I don't want to be a gloomy-gus and bring this post down so I'll stop right there.  What I am really trying to say is that I am glad to be back and I have missed all of my beloved SL friends very much.  You are all very special to me and I feel so honored to be associated with such amazing, creative, and beautiful people.  I have asked Petra to tentatively put me back on the schedule (looking at Wednesdays), and I hope they have some openings that I can take.  I really do want to come back in and be a part of the LoD family again, and a part of SL period.

Thanks all of you for caring and being just so totally awesome!

Back From Vacay!


I bet you thought I'd gone all Izzy-M.I.A. again, eh?  Not a chance; I'm loving the fashion world entirely too much for that!

As a matter of fact, my (sl & rl) fiancé - Cyth Hax - and I have just returned from a week-long vacation in (usually) sunny Destin, Florida.  If you have never been (or heard of it), it's a gorgeous, little place; all white sands and emerald waters.  Its beaches have been named some of the prettiest in the world.

That is, of course, unless you go during a patch of stormy weather as we did - where the constant churning of unusually large, wind-spawned waves made the water as murky as the Gulf at Biloxi, Mississippi (much closer to home and the ones we generally visit when we want some sand and sun).

Though the wind was hellish (beach time was filled with lovely wind-whipped sandblasts that pummeled your skin with fine and sharp-feeling sand), it often rained, and the sun decided to be shy and stay behind the clouds for the duration of our trip, we still had a fairly nice time.

A week, however, is just too long for me.  It was the longest vacay I'd ever gone on and I really didn't know how I would handle being away from home, our five cats (counting a new baby kitty!), and my desktop computer!  It was nothing short of hell, I'll admit.  I must just relegate myself to the notion that I am, simply, a homebody.

As well, since Rosie proffered the idea of becoming a fashionista in SL, I have been in-world and active a lot more; it was like finding my true calling and I - finally - had a purpose; a reason to be spending so much time in a virtual world.  (Without purpose or direction, I lose interest quickly).  I tried getting in-world on my laptop, even downloaded an alt viewer or two, but it just wasn't happening.  Even when I could get in for a few moments, I had to have the graphics turned down so low that trying to put together an outfit was simply not worth the effort.

So, I am back (yay!) and will be working on some new outfits to post this very evening.  I hope everyone has missed me as much as I have missed them & SL!

Meet Julian

If it weren't for Rosie - and her cute, little Spot - I wouldn't even know anything about AIFriends.  In fact, if it weren't for Rosie, I would not now be sharing my virtual life with my new sweet, little baby Julian.

I really can't thank her enough for bringing us together.  He is the apple of my eye - I mean, look at all that cuteness!  The photo above was after I first brought him home and I gave him his very first bath.  He is not yet litter-trained because even though I have his box out, he still left a steaming pile of poo on my floor (maybe I'm sick, but even the poo was cute - and yes, it was really steaming!).

My sweet boy is a Bombay and though it was a tough choice between that and a Siamese, I had to finally settle on that adorable black bundle.  I have a thing for black cats (three of my four rl furbabies are black - completely by coincidence!) and omghessocute.  I just don't even know what else to say.  He's adorable and cute and has amazing vertical leap (seriously - we were all hanging out on Rosie's sky workroom and he was leaping over everyone's heads).

Yes, he loves to jump - and jump high! - and run around like a nut.  What kitty worth their 'nip doesn't, right?  Our favorite thing to do together, though, is sit on the floor in our bedroom and read together.

I almost got a Corgi, but how could I - the ultimate cat lover - not get a kitty?  It just wouldn't be right.  I'd like to get a Corgi one day and I just might, but for now I am just enjoying my time with Juju.

Isn't he just adorable?  Thank you Aunty Ro - Julian & I will be forever grateful that you brought us together!

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