Another Legacy, 4.13

Bloganuary Daily Prompt for January 24, 2023: How do you show love?

From the Journal of Nicki Flores

My dorm room stands stripped of all my belongings: clean, empty, and ready for the next student who will spend four years of his or her life here.

I can’t believe I’ll be leaving all this behind.

My dormmate Yusuf came to say goodbye.

“Let’s keep in touch!” he said.

“Oh, we will! We will!” We have to.

I’d really wanted to end my college soccer career on a high note, but we lost. As usual.

I felt sad and disappointed in losing, like always. But I also realized that I am really, really going to miss this. I’ve loved being a soccer player, even on the losing team. I’ve just loved college, every moment of it, and losing soccer games is part of that. I’ve loved it.

After my last finals, I was off the team–officially graduated, even if we hadn’t had the ceremony yet, so I couldn’t play anymore. Soccer is over.

But that meant that for the first time in my entire four years at the university, I was free for the Saturday Night Dorm Party!

Asuka came, and we danced in the party room down the hall.

The party got a little weird with dormmate drama. That’s one thing I won’t miss. And it made me realize that I don’t really regret that being busy with soccer kept me away from college parties. They’re not that great, after all.

I found an empty easel in a quiet corner and painted a portrait of Asuka.

I wanted to capture Asuka’s quietness, her sort of peaceful happiness, that’s just there wherever she is. In the painting, she’s partly blocked by the dresser, and that seemed symbolic to me of the way she sort of stays in the background, there, beautiful, but not demanding.

I think some people would paint the person they loved front and center. But I wanted to show Asuka how she is, bright and colorful in drab surroundings, but not demanding. Quiet and peaceful. I call the painting, “Love is Always There.”

My last day at college, before the graduation ceremony, I jogged through campus. I just sort of breathed in all the memories. I haven’t really spent much time dreaming of the future because I’ve been so busy with finishing up the term and meeting all the graduation requirements, and I wasn’t ready to start opening that bag of dreams yet.

Dad’s already moved to Sulani–he got that job! And I’ll be joining him tomorrow.

But this last day, I just wanted to remember. I’ve loved this so much, and I want to pull it all into me, so that my whole experience here becomes part of my bones. I want to take this with me.

I’d always wanted to participate in the debates, but I could never find the time, due to practice, games, studying, and studio work, but finally, that last day, I was able to join in!

I felt pretty confident. Just talk from your heart, right?

Well, no. Debates come more from the logical brain. I did terribly!

But at least I can say that I have had the experience of a college debate!

At last it was time for the graduation ceremony.

The UBrite mascot found me while we were waiting to make it into the graduation hall, and we snapped a picture. I can’t wait to share this with my kid someday, once I adopt.

Then it was over. One last time riding my bike through campus.

Outside the sports arena, one of the new soccer recruits jogged to practice. It felt so odd not to be going in with him. I think missing practice will be one of he hardest things for me. My brain and body are just wired to head to the arena every weekday at 6 p.m. sharp.

When I got back to the dorm, there wasn’t a crowd of dormmates waiting to cheer me, just a few new students and one of my old friends.

“Well, I guess it’s off to the big world!” one of the new guys said.

“Ha! Good luck out there!” said the other.

It’s supposed to be exciting, heading out, starting fresh. Career! Family! Fame! All that good stuff.

But I’ve loved my life here. I’ve loved being a college student so much. I’m going to miss everything–even the stinky dorm hallways and the cold leftovers on the foyer table!

These years have been amazing, and the only way I know to show my love for them is to breathe all my memories so deep into me that they become part of who I am. I’m taking this experience with me.

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Puppy Love 23


My heart was heavy, my aura blue. I had thought my grand scheme to suggest to Lucas that he might adopt a child would take hold. The boy–now grown into a quiet, kind, gentle man–has so much love. Surely, he’d want to take in a child to love, too!

But he seems to feel the dogs offer plenty of chances to share his love.


Emery has grown into a very fine dog. Take a pomeranian, a beagle, a water spaniel, a giant schnauzer, and a collie, and what do you get? Emery. He looks like he could be a Newfoundland, with that broad, intelligent brow of his. But he is a mixed breed, through and through!

He has a mystical air about him, with his blue moon eye, always reflecting the light. His other eye is dark and compassionate, and if both eyes matched, one would call him a wise, kind dog. But that unsettling moon eye–he is a magician.

His nose, too, is mottled.

Lucas takes as good care of Emery as he does the other five. I wonder sometimes how he manages to squeeze enough minutes from a day to be able to keep all five dogs bathed, fed, and exercised. But he does.


Sometimes, as my spirit slides through, Lucas feels my presence, and then he sees me.


Yes, I can still feel warmth. It’s not physical warmth. It’s the warmth of this boy’s heart. This very good man’s heart.


“Aren’t you lonely, Lucas?” I asked him. “Don’t you want a two-legged person to talk with sometimes? Someone who could help with this houseful of dogs?”

“It’s not such a good idea, is it, Astrid? To have someone move in to help? Isn’t that, like, using the person? Besides. I don’t get to spend enough time by myself as it is.”

To each their own. I just think how my life became more rich, more full, with more time for myself, even, once Tanvi moved in.

Of course, I was utilitarian in my offer to her: Move in, help me take care of the dogs, take care of them when I’m gone, and I’ll leave you all this. She took that approach with Lucas. Maybe that’s why he’s so sensitive about bringing in someone else under those conditions.

He’s young enough that he doesn’t have to worry about the dogs outliving him, unless the line continues for many more generations. Imagine what they might look like, five generations hence! If the progeny carry on Chloe’s disposition and looks, we’ll be lucky, indeed.


Emery’s mother is a very sweet. While Emery, superstitious as only a magician can be, cowered when he saw me, startling me in return, Chloe looked right at me and smile. She is drawn to the supernatural.


I lingered around the house for a few days to assess for myself whether what Lucas said, about preferring to live alone the way he does, was true. Was he really doing all right and managing fine?

While I was there, his new maid came. I suppose the other one retired. The dogs seemed to love this one. She had a bold style, with bright makeup and hair dyed copper-penny red.


I admit to eavesdropping on their conversation.

“You have a lot of dogs,” she said.

“Yep,” said Lucas. “Do you like dogs?”

“Well, they’re messy. I mean, your house. It has–” she sniffed– “a very definite odor.”

“I don’t notice,” Lucas said.

“And there’s hair everywhere. You know it will take me hours and hours to clean your home.”

“Yes, but you’ll do a good job?”

“Yes. And you’ll pay me. So, there’s that.”

“They’re good companions? The dogs. I mean, they are.”

“Sure. But one or two are good companions. That’s what I’m saying. So I suppose the answer to your question is, yes. I like dogs. But in ones and twos. Not fives and sixes.”

“You see,” said Lucas, “what you say makes very good sense? But there’s another way to look at it. What are we short of in this world? I’m not talking in a physical sense. I’m talking energy. What is the world short of? Love. That’s all. More love makes a better world. Who’s best at creating the feeling of love? It’s gotta be a dog. One dog creates a lot of love. Five dogs? That’s a love machine!”

“So, you’re solving the world’s problems through the power of puppy love?”

“Something like that,” said Lucas.


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Story A Day for May, Day 4


Say This Instead

On the stroll back from Spencer’s Cove, Kate calculated years and ages. It had been ten years since they’d cast Grandpa’s ashes over the bluff at the cove. Grandpa passed at 90. It had been 45 years since he’d told her not to say goodbye to him, ever. She had been ten. She was now, at 55, the age that Grandpa had been then. Of course she didn’t say goodbye to him when she sat by his bed at hospice. When he closed his eyes, his paper fingers in her hand, she didn’t say goodbye. She didn’t say goodbye at the rattles and heaves, or at the single tear that rolled from his open left eye.

She shook herself and looked around the kitchen. The green chair felt hard beneath her. She felt the wrinkle in the carpet under her feet.

“Why not say goodbye, Grandpa?”

“Serves no purpose, Kate.”

“What do I say instead?”

“Later, alligator. In a while crocodile. See ya soon, Katy-Moon. Those’ll do.”

“How about, ‘until we meet again?” She had been reading every Victorian novel she could find in her grandfather’s bookcases.

“That’ll do, too.”

So that was what she said in the morning when she raced out the door to catch the school bus. That’s what she said when she left for college. That’s what she said at the end of every weekend visit, for decades, when she left for the city and her Monday job.

That’s what she said, ten years ago, at his bedside in hospice.

She said it after the single tear, and after the final rattle, and months later, as the ashes swirled out over the cove.

The others said goodbye, the great aunt, bent over her walking stick; the grandnieces and nephews, standing formally, even in the wind; the little second cousins, shouting at the gulls. She had been, apparently, the only one he forbade to use it.

She looked towards the lighthouse, as she and he had done for forty years. A white feather–was it a tern’s?–caught up in the wind and circled, circled, rising. She watched until it blew out of sight, the clouds white behind it. The others had turned back by then, the children racing ahead, the cousins walking in clusters of two and three, the great aunt alone, stabbing at the path with her stick.

“Until we meet again,” she said out over the cove. She stood alone on the bluff, until the others disappeared, and then she remembered, it was her house, now, that they were returning to. She’d be the one expected to make the tea.

After they all left, she thought about how comforting it might be to say goodbye. Final. She didn’t quite imagine herself saying it, for she was obedient, even now that she was grown, even now that he was gone. But she considered what someone else might feel if they said goodbye to the person they loved the most at the final parting.

Ten years had passed without that word crossing her lips.

She’d walked there today because it was Sunday, and she always went there on Sundays. On Mondays, too. And often, any other day of the week, for, still, it was her favorite walk, and the cedars lined the path, the same ones that had bent towards her when she was a little girl, racing along ahead of her grandfather. She always called to them, “Hello!”

Standing at the edge of the bluff, she missed him, suddenly, even after ten years. She felt his hand in hers, the callous of his thumb hard against her palm. And his voice sparked inside of her, “Friends aren’t everything, Kate. You’ve got me.”

The sun shone–only, no. It was still cloudy. But what was this sudden warmth? Like wearing a sweater in June. A tern circled over the cove. She knew then, at that moment, why she hadn’t been allowed to say goodbye.

She walked home, calculating. Sitting with her tea in the kitchen, the chair hard beneath her, the carpet wrinkled under her feet, she realized that she was now the age he had been when he’d forbidden that word.

It’s not needed. Love is an energy that escapes the laws of time and space–it continues, boundless, in a moment.

It takes a good many years of life to know that. But once you do, you realize that goodbye serves no purpose.

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Prompt for May 4: “Set a timer for 40 minutes, write a story” from

Author’s note: I stretched the prompt a bit–I took a look at the prompt the night before, selected the picture, slept on it, then thought about it off and on during the day. Actual time writing behind the keyboard: 40 minutes. Actual time that the story steeped before pouring? Closer to 24 hours!  Steep till done!

Eight Pieces: Shine


Kristal’s grandmother had loved that old church song, “This Little Light of Mine.” She’d sang it to her all through her childhood.

It was effortless to shine as a child, surrounded by Grandma, Poppa, Mom, Dad, and all those doting cousins.

Family lit up when she entered a room, so it was impossible not to reflect that light back.


When had she stopped shining?

She was still bright when she’d met her ex. He used to put on his sunglasses when he saw her coming. “You’re so bright, I need my shades.”

When had he stopped lighting up when he saw her?

It was after he’d been teaching for about ten years, she realized. That was the time he took on the supervision of the grad students in his division. Maggie Mueller–his T.A. for Intro to Essential Stochastic Finance–he shone when he saw her. That was when he began to dull around Kristal.

She pretended for a long time that nothing had changed, until she became too tired to pretend. She could live without love–of course. Millions did. She could, too.

But the price had been heavy.


She was beginning to see now that she didn’t have to pay that price. She didn’t have to jump to be with someone else. She could continue on alone. And she could still shine.

She sat on the patio many a night, watching the shine of light above the chapel door. It meant something to her. She didn’t have words for its meaning, but when she felt the press of loneliness, she looked to that glow, and warmth spread through her.

This little light of mine.

Being a human was predictable. We respond in similar ways to certain experiences. Certain symbols transcend culture, individuality, and reach deep within us to move us, inspire us.

Some nights, she sat up through the darkness, glancing now and then to the light above the chapel door, watching the sky and the slow march of stars that betrayed the steady revolution of this planet. As the clouds above the mountains became silver, her pulse quickened, and she inhaled deeply.

The first rays of sunlight didn’t bring heat of the day, but they brought warmth to her eyes.

Let it shine.


A single kerosene lamp on a table. A light above a chapel door. The streaming morning sun.

Let it shine. 

She was older now. Her grandparents were long gone, her parents, too. She rarely saw the now-distant cousins. There wasn’t a single person she could think of who lit up when seeing her.

But there was this feeling inside–there was something that still responded to light, that took fire and shone. Whether another responded or not, she still shone.

Alive, alone, whether anyone heard her message or not, she shone.


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Lighthouse: Stay


On Santi’s first night with us, I didn’t sleep well. I kept hearing again the angry chants of the rioters, with Santi’s music quieting it all. The music carried power, while the musician stood vulnerable.

And then, the pain of parting rushed through me. I couldn’t bear that she’d be leaving us.

In the quiet hour before dawn, I took Mojo for a walk down by the beach.


He understood my feelings, even if he couldn’t comprehend their reasons.


We walked until the sky turned silver. Slowly, quietly, the spin of the lighthouse beam brought my thoughts into harmony with my greater trust: It would all work out. It would all work out and I would accept it.


I would accept it, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t be saddened by it.


When we returned home with first sun rays, I wanted to stop the sun. I didn’t want another day to pass, for the day after tomorrow, Ritu would take Santi, and even if I trusted, even if I could feel acceptance and harmony, I felt resistance, too. I could accept it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I wanted to stop it.


In the early morning, waiting for Sept and Santi to rise, I busied myself with chores.


When I came back in, I found Santi cleaning the bathroom.

“Oh, honey!” I said. “You don’t have to do that! You don’t need to do chores!”


She looked up with a big smile. We went into the kitchen, and I heated up leftover tacos for breakfast. I sat at the other end of the table, avoiding looking in her face. I was distancing myself. I didn’t know any other way to approach this.


She found delight in watching the goldfish in our tank. Seeing her happiness, my throat tightened, and, as I heard Sept’s footsteps on the stairs, I ran outside. I was afraid I’d start crying if I looked in his kind eyes.


But he followed me out.

“What’s up, Mal?” he asked.

I let it all out.


I told him about trusting, accepting, resisting, and all the denial I was wrapping myself in to try to get through this. I told him I’d fallen in love with Santi, and I couldn’t bear that she was leaving us.


“In that case,” he said. “She’ll stay!”


I didn’t see how it could happen.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “It can’t be that simple.”


“I don’t see why not,” he said.

“What about Ritu’s plans? What about the family she’s found for her?”


“She’s staying with us,” Sept said. “I’m part of this thing, too.” He meant that he was part of the rebel movement, and I know now that he wasn’t just an incidental part of it, he was an integral part of it. In his own way, here on this planet, he was, even then, a leader in the movement. Sept was important.

“Can you do that?” I asked. “Can you decide something and make it happen?”


He reminded me that Ritu worked for the movement–she was there to support it–and whatever Xirra and the others directed, that’s what she did. And Xirra, in this instance, would take her lead from Sept.

“In other words,” I said, “Santi stays with us!”

“That she does,” said Sept, “if you feel it’s best.”


It turned out to be very easy. Ritu didn’t have another family lined up yet–she hadn’t been sure what to do with the child, and so she felt relief that Santi would stay with us. She said she couldn’t imagine a better placement, for everyone concerned.

That morning, when Sept and I went back inside, Santi waited in the kitchen. She was still hungry, even after our taco breakfast. I made a sandwich and served it to her.

“Here you go, moSanti,” I said.


Squeegee, mobizaabgotojo!” she said.

“Would you like to stay here?” I asked. “Gotukoda?”

Byugotokoda,” she said. “Squeegee.”


And that’s how Santi came to stay with us and to be our daughter. MoSanti.


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Septemus 50


Dear son,

The fog is starting to lift, and I remember everything.

Xirra, she’s the one I spent most of the time with, had asked me, “Do you want to remember, or forget?”

“Remember!” I said. “I want to remember everything.”

And I do.


They all greeted me, all twelve.

“Do you know the history of abductions?” they asked.

I didn’t. Do you? They told me everything. Abductions, not just of people of our planet, but from many planets, have been going on for generations, for centuries. The intentions haven’t been benevolent, traditionally. They’ve been mercenary.

Women were used to provide gene samples–through swabs of skin or locks of hair, mostly, so that they never knew–and the genes were spliced to create new stock.

Males were forcibly, without consent, impregnated. Most of the time, the experience was so traumatic, that the men ended up returning the child to the home planet soon after birth, and these children provided the slave labor that created the wealth of the Mainstreamers.

It’s a practice that the rebels abhor, just as much as they abhor the treatment of bizoobi.

“This is why we fight,” said Xirra. “We cannot support a culture, a society, an economy that rests on rape, slavery, and murder.”

Gotukoda in’i EO!” They all shouted.

“We want to do things another way,” Xirra said. We weren’t on the ship during this conversation–I remember this now. We were–where were we? We were someplace dark, with glowing plants. Someplace purple, with ultraviolet light. It felt like the inside of a flower.

“We are safe here,” Xirra told me. She led me to an inner room. We sat on large plants, purple, soft, like giant mushrooms, only clearly, they were not a fungus. They smelled like cotton candy.

“We want to do things differently,” she said. “That is what we are all about. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I nodded. So much information, emotional as well as historical, was passing telepathically that I felt that I knew much more than had been said. It was difficult to find words to talk, processing all that was coming in.

She took my hand. “We have been feeling the bonds within your home,” she said. “We know something of love. Do you know, for us, the love of family, of father and pagoto, mother and pagoto, the love that makes a gotukoda–a home–is as close to sacred as anything we know?”

Again, I nodded. I could believe it. It’s sacred to me, too, I tried to say, though I could only think it.

“We want to do things differently,” she said again. “Do you?”

I knew then what she meant.


I found my voice. “Yes,” I said. “I want this very much.”

It was beautiful, son. It was everything that the creation of a new life should be.


You are such a romantic at heart, with your crushes and your Big Loves. I know that you have wondered about me and why I have never had much to do with any of that.

I haven’t felt I’ve been missing out. I’ve had no interest. Why should I bother with something that I’m simply uninterested in, especially when that bother could lead to misunderstanding, broken hearts, and misery?

But now I know. There is something in a touch, an exchange, a breath of love that creates a new life–this is more than romance. This is love. This is what makes a family.

What Xirra and I shared during that exchange, I hope you share that with someone sometime!

The way I feel inside–the petals of the blue rose open, and what’s inside? More petals, more opening, on and on, until the edge of me dissolves and the edge of her dissolves and the rose keeps blooming, on and again.

This is what creates a new life.


I am going to be a father, again.


When Xirra led me out to the main room, we weren’t bashful. There was nothing secret, nothing shameful, everything sacred.

The others were sitting around low round tables, sipping tart, sweet tea that smelled like green apples, though it was deep red. They made room for us, and without talking, we sat with them.

They all began to sing then, only not out loud: inside, the way you sing to your pagotogo. I could hear them. Xirra looked at me, and I began to sing with them.


What gift have I been given? I am in awe.

How is it that I came to be your father? What have you taught me? So much! You have taught me love and more. And now. This experience. This is something that I never thought that I would experience. Me, solitary me. I am solitary no more. I am surrounded with gotugo. We are all kin. I never knew this. But now I do.


I’m going to have a baby!


I’m going to have a baby, and this new life is the result of the most amazing, reality-altering experience I have ever had. This new life is the result of love.


You are going to be an amazing big brother.

And I am…

steeped in gratitude,

Your pops

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Author’s note: Sebastion came back from his “abduction” (it felt more like a “visitation”) knowing that he was pregnant. He had all the nooboo-related thought bubbles since he arrived back home.

Forgotten Art: Meadow – Kaitlin 11

A reply to: A letter from Kaitlin


Kaitlin–what? Newt is Newt? Norm’s Newt? How can that be?

I guess it figures–never doubt one’s first intuition, right?

But really. You must have been so blown away. Was it freaky? Or creepy?

I want you to know that I never told Norm anything about you: He knows I have pen pals, but he doesn’t know any of your names or anything about any of you–no personal details. Nothing!


It’s such a mind-blower.

Are you feeling OK?

You sound really great in your letter, actually. You sound happy, optimistic and strong. I’m so glad to hear that you aren’t denying the love you have for Newt. That’s such an important part of healing. Of course you’re not excusing what he did–nothing excuses that. At the same time, you recognize what you share together–your children and grandchildren–and you recognize the validity of your feelings for him.


I’m also glad that you’re letting yourself grieve, too. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not happy that you’re experiencing grief. What I mean is that it’s so important to let yourself, and your kids, grieve. So many of the women I’ve met keep their hearts hard. They tell themselves that their lives were always awful with their abuser, ignoring the moments of closeness or fun. They try to push away any idea of loss. But there is so much loss: Loss of a dream for what the relationship “could have been”; loss of the reality of a life together; loss of material items–houses, clothing, even dishes and furniture; loss of friends and family. So much loss for everyone involved.

The women I’ve known who’ve let themselves grieve, like Ira and Micah, they’re the ones who are able to move into their new lives. They’re the ones who are genuinely happy.

You sound happy, too–even around the sadness and worry, you sound really happy and strong.

I’m glad you and Ben had a chance to talk and reconnect. He’s going through grief, too. I’ve seen grief tear families apart, when each one suffers it in isolation, and I’ve seen it bring families together, when family members turn towards each other and don’t try to hide their pain.

Life is so tricky. If we can live it together, it’s so much better!

I’m glad you are OK with me telling Norm about Newt. After I read your letter, I felt I had to.


I really didn’t know what to say.

Norm and Ira dropped by after school one day, when Jena had over a lot of her friends from the afterschool club. It was right after I got your letter.

I knew I had to tell him, but I couldn’t figure out how.


He looks up to Newt so much, almost as if Newt were a hero to him. I guess Newt has a big personality.

I considered not saying anything, letting him continue to admire Newt and to think of Newt’s abusiveness in the abstract, as something “not quite real.”


But if there’s one thing that they drum into us in my graduate program, as evidenced in every study, every practice, every therapy approach, it’s that secrets are what allow abuse to continue.

When we face hard truths, it stretches us. But sometimes, through stretching, we grow in ways we never thought possible. Look at you and how you’ve grown in strength and love. We develop capacity by facing the hard truths and loving anyway.

Eventually, I just mustered up my courage and told him.

I’m not sure how he took it. I think he’s going to need to process it for a while.

I need to process it, too.


Mizuki Suzuki saw me looking concerned and extra thoughtful while we were watching a movie with Jena. When the movie was over, and Jena was tucked in, Mizuki asked me what was wrong.

I told her that a close friend of mine had been hurt by a close friend of Norm’s. She asked if Norm’s friend was still hurting my friend.

“No,” I was able to answer, “though there’s still a lot of residual pain.”

“I imagine there’s pain on both sides, right?” Mizuki Suzuki asked.

“Yes,” I replied, “I know so.”

“In that case,” said Mizuki Suzuki, “they are both very lucky to have the two of you as friends.”


I took a long run after she said that, so I could think through her words. One of the things we’ve learned in our trauma studies at grad school is that emotional pain is amplified by social rejection and isolation. This is especially important in trauma therapy. One of my more radical professors holds that it’s true in working with the abuser, too: Social rejection and isolation get in the way of healing and recovery, rather than promote it.

I guess I’m glad, at the end of the day, that Norm was Newt’s pen pal. He stayed with him, didn’t he? I just hope that now he knows of Newt’s connection to someone dear to me he’ll continue to stay. He seemed pretty upset when he left, and I recognized that “big brother protector mode” that he switches into sometimes, whenever he sniffs a bully around me.

Maybe I’ll ask Jasper to have a word with him.


Oh, I’m sorry to share all these troubled thoughts with you! We will be OK. We just need processing time.

And before I go, I have so many congratulations to share with you! Congratulations on Reid getting cleared! Congratulations on being so brave with Newt. Congratulations on reaching out to Ben–I know that must have been hard to break through that wall he put up. Congratulations on Reese and Brooke’s graduation and on their upcoming wedding! You must be so very proud.

And thank you, more than you can ever know, for being my friend. Sometimes, I think of how much I’ve changed through knowing you! I was such a solipsistic scholar before we began writing! It’s through you I learned the importance of putting others first (namely Jena!), and the value of opening my home to another (specifically Mizuki Suzuki), and it’s because of you that I’m now a doctoral candidate in Therapy Studies! That’s right! I’m getting my Ph.D.! I always wanted to be Dr. McCumber! And in eight years (or maybe seven-and-a-half if I work at a brilliant pace) I will be!

Thank you so much for everything!

Your friend forever, too,


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Memory Lane Challenge

Ah! Here’s a neat challenge/award thingy! thewindsorlegacy nominated me for this award! Have you read The Windsor Legacy? I love this legacy story so much. Each Saturday morning, and sometimes on random bonus weekdays, I enjoy a chapter while sipping coffee after breakfast. Right now, the heir is at college, and she’s having such a time of it! I’ve had a lot of flashbacks of awkward cafeteria conversations! I highly recommend this legacy–you’ll love the screenshots, the characters, the plotlines, and the writing!

So, how does this challenge work? Here’s the scoop:

  1. Congratulations! You’ve been nominated for a totally legit award. Get a gold star and stick it on your forehead like a boss.
  2. Share FIVE of your favourite moments from your legacy/challenge/story so far.
  3. Nominate 3-5 blogs to do the same.

Five Favourite Moments

**If you’re all caught up on my stories, you won’t find spoilers here… If you haven’t yet read my stories, you’ll find spoilers aplenty!**

  1. Sugar Maple Bough’s supreme act of Self-Determination:


    I wondered as I watched her, after she finished painting, what intention she was setting.

  2. Jaclyn Ball’s first appearance in New World Symphony:


    Who IS this amazing hobbit-elf, and where did she come from?

  3. Davion Kern’s mysterious appearance in New World:


    What is it with the magical mixologists in this save?

    And then… when Jaclyn and Davion fell in love, all on their own:


    A magical match!

  4. The unforgettable Elder Wolff at Plum Day (or any day, really):


    Getting to see these two meet and fall in love felt like a blessing and a miracle landing in an open palm!

  5. The first night I played after the ghost patch was released, when Cedar and Timothy were reunited:


    “In my love, you’ll find you’re free.”

Hmmm. I really am a romantic, aren’t I? Well, it’s hard not to be when the Sims is full of so many great love stories!

Now for my nominations (Oh, I so want to hear your Simming memories!):

  1. Pegasus143,  aka Mackie, of Makplays
  2. peatock/losebetter of The Velasco Legacy
  3. RipuAncestor of Chrysanthemum Tango, Fey of Life, and Forget-Me-Not
  4. Asaoyoru of Droplets of Stardust
  5. CeCe Rose of Dreams and Drama

Septemus 11


Dear Sept,

Have you heard of intentional families?

These aren’t the families you were born into. They’re the families of your choosing.


Like me choosing you, Number 77.

And you choosing me back to be your bizaabgotojo.

My nonny used to tell me, “Pipsqueak, you may have been brought here by a dozen twists of fate, but even if fate hadn’t conspired so, your poppy and I would have had to choose you.”

I feel that way about you, Septemus Sevens.


You seem to be creating your own intentional family these days.

I heard you ask our young friend Lucas, “LucasyoumybizoopagotoOK?”

He looked at you like he couldn’t understand a word.

“He’s asking you to be his big brother, Lucas,” I explained.

“Oh! I’ve always wanted to be a big brother!” said Lucas. “Sure!”

“Oh, squeegee!” you replied.


You chose Miko for your bizaabgotojo since the moment you first met her. Nearly two years later, and she’s still telling you the plotlines of completely inappropriate otome, and you’re still eating it up.


Little bug, I’m telling you this as one orphan to another: Intentional families are where it’s at.

We are the folks who will be with you always and forever, no matter when you need us.

We’re here.

We’re here, and we chose you. You chose us back.

And it still doesn’t quite make that empty feeling inside go away, does it?






My little bug. I see you looking, searching, and longing. I know. I’ve got a corresponding empty spot inside of me. When your own bizaabgotojoto by birth are gone, that spot just sits there, and no amount of games, Kisuuu, faux BLT, waiting-dancing, flashcards, singing, and totally inappropriate otome can fill it up.

Don’t despair. We are resilient beings. Love is resilient, too.

Your bizaabgotojo,


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New World Symphony: The Goat-Hoofed Man


“We have the same hair!” Florinda said to Jaclyn.

“Of course we do,” replied Jaclyn.”We come from the same stock, sure as can be!”


“How about me?” said Sparkroot, hopping up onto the stool next to his sister. “I come from the same stock, too!”


“Not you!” said Jaclyn. “You come from wizardry!”

“Yeah!” replied Sparkroot. “Like magic, huh?”


Just then Brennan stopped by. He’d called to check up on the babies, and Cathy invited him over. “You’ll be surprised,” she told him.

“Surprised by our little family? Why, nothing my loved ones could do would surprise me,” he answered with a laugh.

But when he entered the kitchen, he jumped.

“Whoa! What happened to my peanuts?” he said.

“Ada!” said Sparkroot. “It’s just me!”


“What was your ada like?” Florinda asked Jaclyn. “Is he like my ada?”

Jaclyn laughed. “My ada was a funny little fellow. Not that much taller than you and Sparkroot, actually, with a long wooly brown beard and hands like a little bear’s!”


“Tell us more about your ada!” said Sparkroot.

“One day, my ada took a walk in the woods. Usually, his trail led him through the woods and into the meadow. But one day, the woods kept going further and further, darker and darker, until my ada looked around and he was quite lost in the mist of the forest.

“He heard a rumble and a crack, like the sound of a great tree-trunk splitting open, and then, he heard a violin.

“‘I ain’t a feared a no wobbly music!’ my ada said. But this was no ordinary music. This was a tune that had the power to take ahold of a man and never let him go. This was music that could dance a man to bits!”


Sparkroot hung on every word. How could a man get danced to bits? And who could play such powerful music?

“My ada stared, and this man in a long coat the color of wine began to walk right towards him, playing the violin the whole time. He had a dark beard, this man did, and eyes shone brighter than the sun itself.”


“Oh, Jaclyn,” interrupted Brennan, “You look mighty cute when you tell that tale. Maybe sometime you could tell me a bed-time story.”

Florinda laughed. “Anybody would be the luckiest of all to have Jaclyn tell the goodnight story!”


“Now, Brennan Stuckey,” said Jaclyn, “I’ll not have you interrupting my story just because it makes you nervous to hear about a mysterious man in a wine-colored coat with eyes brighter than the sun. And I’ll certainly not sit by quietly while you interrupt me with a lame old flirt, Mr. Tea. That’s quite enough from you, sir.”


Florinda hopped down to see if her violin were in tune, and Sparkroot jumped right up into the empty stool, so he could hear the story all the better.

“Go on!” he said. “What happened next?”

“Why, next,” said Jaclyn, “that swarthy gypsy man, for that’s who he was, began to play the violin, faster and faster, and my ada began to get all turned around and snarly-brained.”


“The gypsy man played into the dark, and my ada kept dancing, around and around that old cracked oak tree. And in the darkest part of the night, the bears came out, drawn by the music, circling and circling.”


“All night long, the gypsy played, the bears circled, and my ada turned and danced and grew dizzier and dizzier, and the bears circled and circled.”


“And what happened next?” Sparkroot asked.

“Next thing my ada knew, it was morning, and he was leaning against the old oak tree, but the oak tree wasn’t split. The only thing split was the empty jug of mead beside him on the forest floor.”

“Was it just a dream then?”

“That’s what my ada thought,” said Jaclyn. “For he searched the ground all around, and he didn’t see a single footprint from a single bear, and he would have for it was all damp and muddy around. The only footprints he did see were very strange, indeed. The right print was from a man’s riding boot. And the left print?”

Brennan began to clap loudly. “That’s the best folk tale I’ve ever heard!” he said.


“I didn’t finish yet,” said Jaclyn.

“Yeah, Ada,” said Sparkroot. “We need to hear what the left footprint was!”


“The left footprint was a goat hoof,” said Jaclyn.

“Folk tales and fairy tales!” chuckled Brennan nervously. “The stuff of foolish nonsense!”


“And that’s the story’s ending sure as the beginning! I’ll be off then,” said Jaclyn. “Ta!”

After she left, Brennan tried to still the nervousness he felt. He couldn’t explain it. All he knew was that he really had no patience for such make-believe. Superstitions and nonsense!

“You know, Spark,” he said to his son, “these kinds of stories really aren’t to be taken seriously. They’re not like stories about Babe Ruth, for example. They’re make-believe.”

“OK, Ada,” Sparkroot replied. “If you say there’s no such thing as a goat-hoofed man, I’ll believe you. But bears are real, right?”

“Not in New Orleans,” Brennan replied. “And not even here in Windenburg, either. The bears were cleared out long ago.”


Brennan couldn’t shake his feeling of unease. After the kids settled in for their afternoon nap, he paced the living room, feeling first his right foot on the ground, then his left foot. Such nonsense! Two feet, ten toes. He wiggled his toes. All there! Who could believe the nonsense that such a silly woman could tell in her idleness!

He went in to look at his son as he slept, with his two feet in his two sneakers, like an all-American kid. He glanced down at his own two loafers. Stuff and nonsense! He didn’t even like the violin!


When Cathy came into the kitchen to dish up snack for them, Brennan lashed out.

“What was that woman even doing here? Why do you have her over? Are you going to let anyone tell any old nonsense to our children? I don’t want my boy growing up believing in fairy tales!”

This was the second time he had yelled at her. The first had happened shortly after their marriage, when they’d met Jaclyn, Davion, and Wade at a nightclub. Cathy began to suspect that Brennan really didn’t like her friends.


“Oh, phooey,” he said. “I lost my temper.”

He looked at her with a sheepish grin, and she tried to smile back. The smile didn’t reach her eyes.


He did the dishes out of contrition.

It didn’t take away the sting.

Cathy thought. She knew this about Brennan, that he was capable of this. It was one of the reasons she’d wanted them to live in separate houses, to minimize the occassions when this could happen.

This was likely the root of Sugar’s anger, Cathy realized. Sugar’s Aunt Poplar. What had Sugar told her about her aunt?

“My aunt Poplar, God-rest-her-soul, that was a lonely woman,” Sugar had said. “She meant well enough, and I truly believe that she loved my mother and even me. And she was the best friend of my sweet sister Salix. But I’ve got to tell you, our home was nearly ruined time and again by Poplar’s verbal abuse. Eventually, when I was old enough, I lay down the law. ‘I won’t have you yell at me, or anyone I love,’ I told her. But we’d already been stung.”

Knowing Brennan, and Sugar had made sure to get to know this man before Cathy married him, Sugar likely learned that he was prone to these types of outbursts, too. It’s not the type of thing that anyone would want to expose a child to, especially if they’d experienced it in their own childhood. No wonder Sugar felt upset that Cathy was making a dad out of Brennan.


Cathy wasn’t sure what to do. She loved this man. She loved their kids more than love itself.

She wasn’t sure if she could protect them from sometimes getting lashed with harsh words. And she didn’t want to keep them away from their father.

Maybe they could learn, what? That love is enough? That sometimes those you love might say things that hurt? That there’s more in this world than harmony and peace? That somebody may have shortcomings and foibles, and might even hurt you, but that didn’t mean he didn’t love you, and it didn’t mean that you had to stop loving him?

She wasn’t sure what they could learn. She wasn’t really sure what she could do. She figured that sometimes, there might be harsh words and tears. And sometimes, they might be like every other happy family.

And no matter what, she’d be there, to hold a safe spot when the oak tree cracked.


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