02 August, 2008

Friends & Connections

I have a MySpace account (for friends - but mostly because my friend Rosa had one and in order to see her info I had to have one too), a LinkedIn account (for professional contacts), and a Plaxo account (for friends/business?). I've blogged on MySpace, linked my Flickr pictures to the Plaxo, and not done much with the LinkedIn site at all. I've had invitations to join Twitter and... some other networking site, but I figured that I already neglect the ones I belong to and that is enough.

I'm not a Friend Collector at any of my sites. I think I have maybe a dozen "friends" (I just connected with 2 more) on Plaxo and LinkedIn, and I've got 18 on MySpace (two are musicians - I don't really know Colby Caillat, but I have met Jared Woods - and one is the Default Friend Tom - that everyone gets when they create an account...). That's fine with me, as I don't spend lots of time or energy updating the sites and the people who are there are pretty much really my friends. Greg, on the other hand, has hundreds of connections or friends (okay maybe dozens & dozens?) on his site(s). When I see that, I war with the greedy numbers demon... maybe I should do more, send out more invites, work on it more... then I remember that I'm already spending as much time as I care to maintaining those places. And it's cozy, realizing that the people connected to me electronically I am also connected to emotionally. (Altho I really could stand to work more on my professional networking - I'll put that on the list of things to do when I'm bored...)
The Serious Pose

Plaxo sends me updates once a week, and when I go to check them out there are also suggestions of people I might know as connections. I wasn't sure how the site picks potential connections for me - but I look at them to see if I know anyone. Turns out, it is probably looking at my current connections' connections to build more connections. Whew! Anyhow, I found Janet on the connection list on July 24th. I actually know a Janet. So I looked at more of her information and saw that she's in MO. The Janet I know is in MO. So I sent a Friend Request. I get an email back the same day. Not only is this the Janet I know, but Chris & Caleb are *in flight* on their way to AK for family functions. Wahoo!!

It's been *ages* since we've seen Chris... at least 4 years. The last time they were up (Janet was here too), there were only two bambinos. We've watched the family additions of kids and pets through the annual Christmas card (which we put on the fridge with the other cherished pictures that get updated once a year...). Calls are infrequent - mostly because it's hard to coordinate schedules with a three hour time difference.
Picture Posing (just look at those smiles!!)

I can't describe how good it was to see Chris & Caleb. Like coming home - or having them come home. Like that missing piece of the puzzle is back, but you didn't realize you missed it. Like you find something good that you didn't even realize was missing - the old sweater from the back of the closet that makes you feel *so* good when you wear it, because it's perfect - the perfect fit, the perfect comfort, the perfect smell, the perfect color, the perfect everything... something like that, only much, much better... because sweaters don't reminisce and hug... =)
My Hidden Closet Sweaters

We had lots of laughs, re-visiting events from the past. And then spent hours catching up on all the little things. It was hard to say goodbye, knowing that it'll be a long time before the next reunion. So we stood outside and visited some more - it was a perfect evening, we even had stars (and when you see the stars in AK in the summer, it's waaaaay past bedtime...). It's expensive to travel to Alaska (especially with a big family), and we just don't get to MO very often. Maybe next time we'll get Janet too... and meeting the rest of la familia would be nice... and as long as I'm Dreaming Big, maybe the visit could last days & days (I'm not greedy - if I were, I'd say weeks & weeks, or months & months) so we have lots of time to reconnect and get to know the little ones... and maybe someone will invent an inexpensive teleport between here & there, so we can just pop back and forth for the weekend (but if they do, we need a portal to NE, FL, WA, & UT too).
We Love You, Chris!

It seemed like hooking up with Chris worked as if by *magic*. Plaxo sent the update, that was the first day I'd seen Janet on it, and I know that didn't come from my contacts. If I hadn't checked my email that morning or hadn't checked out the Plaxo updates, things would have gone less smoothly (but I trust that Chris would have tracked us down). As it was, Plaxo sent me an update with Janet on it, I responded to connect to Janet, she emailed me that Chris & Caleb were en rout as we typed... Probably the site mined Greg's information and was asking me if I want to connect to this person, as I'm already connected to a person who's connected to this person. I prefer to think of it as magic...)

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