Chapter Two: Old Friends (IGW)

old friends
“No friend like an old friend who has shared our morning days, no greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

There’s a sparkling magic when old friends meet – their eyes lock on familiar faces and their mouths blossom into smiles of recognition. In that brief moment, a treasured sunrise of shared memories and significance dawns between them. They say love is in the little things – a remembered birthday commemorated with a precious Pennant card, a thoughtful “hello, thinking of you” text message every few months, a photo of a spectacular view sent as an email attachment on the third Tuesday of a rainy April month when one is home in bed with a temperature. Aspen would always be friends with Mathias.

hello old friend
“Hello old friend,” he waved, nonchalantly, but his tone was filled with kindness.

“Hi,” she replied, parsing his subtext.

She really didn’t mind the title. Old ‘friend’ implied roads traversed together, and memorable journeys past, and the strength and resilience facing the test of time.

“It’s good to see you,” she practically squeaked.

Even after all this time, their was a slight hitch in her tone every time she first encountered Mathias Watson. Something about his presence made her feel happy dancing butterflies every time. She wondered if he felt the same, but she felt it foolish to ask. She was too afraid to make the first move, despite the fact that she had convinced herself she was half in-love with him.

Aspen was too much of a lone wolf to truly settle down, or so she told herself. Yet every year come December, she traversed into the mountains with Mathias. It became their holiday tradition. Sometimes they had other snow trekkers join them, but most years, they braved the cold dark woods alone, and yet together.

Mathias always spoke of getting “off the grid,” something Aspen didn’t understand but accepted. She loved living “off grid,” if off grid meant living alone in a cabin in the woods on the edge of a hollow with the grand sweeping Cascadian Mountains as her backyard. Mathias, on the other hand, lived in the bustling, loud, rude, overcrowded, exciting, colorful San Myshuno an hour’s train ride away in a stuffy, narrow apartment, spending his days typing furious amounts of code as a programmer by trade. Still, he heeded the call of the wild and hired Aspen as a guide all those years ago to take him on a journey into the mountains away from his technological trappings for eight days.

They were night and day different, but there’s something in the polarity that was exhilarating, attractive even, at least to Aspen. She had never once acted upon her private feelings, not even when they shared a sleeping space as one of their tents had blown away in a fierce snowstorm. They slept back to back, and she lay awake, half the night, biting her thumbnail as she listened to his steady breathing, so close she could sense his heartbeat. Mathias was a perfect gentleman. Part of her wished he wasn’t, but again, she wasn’t so courageous as to make a move. Aspen’s cheeks flooded with color at the mere memory. She hoped Mathias didn’t notice.

what are you doing here? “What are you doing here this early in the season?” she inquired, quickly trying to think of something, anything to break the awkward tension of all of ten seconds.

To Aspen, this was an eternity.

“Well,” he opened his arms wide as if about to make a statement of significance or offer a hug.

She still wasn’t great at reading body language and she certainly didn’t want to offer an embrace if he wasn’t. That wouldn’t be awkward at all… she felt sheepish even thinking about it. Overthinking it. Oh shut up! she internally urged in a panic.

“I’m glad you asked,” he continued, calmly, coolly, like the smooth surface of water so clear and calm, one could see all the way to the river-polished pebbles on the bottom. “I took a job. A client wants me to build him a website.”

flood with color at the memory“Really? That’s great!” Aspen exclaimed, probably a little too over-enthused.

“Yeah, he’s here in Hidden Hollow, and figured I’d get a good sense of his work here if I actually came and observed. It should help in my design of the site,” Mathias continued.

“Sounds smart,” she nodded. “So where are you staying?”

Calm down, eager beaver!

smiling MathiasMathias relaxed into a soft chuckle. He looked genuinely happy she asked, but perhaps she was reading into things. As usual.

“He’s putting me up at the inn- Jack’s Place,” Mathias replied.

“That place is ancient,” Aspen shook her head.

The inn was one of the first businesses built during the final stages of negotiations for the Hollow Accords. Aspen’s own grandmother, Frances Beckett, played a significant role in changing national opinion about supernatural law. Hidden Hollow, a town once overrun by vampires, or pyres as they preferred to be called, became a sanctuary for supernaturals and their allies. Frances had worked tirelessly as a civil rights lawyer to repeal unconstitutional laws and fight for equality for all. She was a pillar in the Supernatural Rights Movement, and a critical linchpin in the vote to turn the Hollows into places of learning, cultural exchange, and understanding.

It would take half a century to undo a millennia of hate, mistrust, and fear. Many non-supernaturals were skeptical about the potential profits to be gained by moving their businesses to the Hollows. However, Jack, the first of three generations of Jacks, opened up a restaurant and inn, a stopover point for curious and enlightened travelers.

Even so, Aspen had been inside. It wasn’t much to sneeze at – the furniture old and musty, the bed-springs squeaky, the mattresses sagging, and the food was typical diner fare, in her eight-year-old opinion. That was the first time, her father, Cecil had brought Aspen to meet her grandmother in Hidden Hollow. Cecil hushed his daughter, insisting that the presence of the inn and its customers and even their bed was a sign of progress. Aspen had wrinkled her nose. She wasn’t sure how much she liked “sleeping” on progress if it smelled like mothballs and lost socks. And the only reason they were staying at the inn was because her grandmother only had one bed in her home.

not a floozy “I’d let you stay at my place, but I’ve only got a single bed,” Aspen started absently, and then hurriedly added, “Well one bed. Actually, it’s a double, and it’s not like we haven’t shared a tent before but… what I meant is I don’t have two rooms. I always planned to build a loft in my grandmother’s cottage, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet, so all I’ve got is the bed in the master and only bedroom and the couch. It’s not much, but it’s actually pretty comfortable, not that you want to stay there… here… with me… er…” she trailed off, feeling incredibly uncomfortable.

Mathias offered a disarming smile.

Aspen didn’t understand it. When she was leading a team of five to ten charges through the vast wilderness, she was confident, concise, to-the-point. In fact, she often wondered if she was off-putting or appeared to be barking orders. In reality, that was her survival mode. Keep a level-head for the tourists and everyone will make it out alive. But in social situations, she was her own worst enemy, often rambling beyond the point of cohesion and comprehension, speaking her mind too freely without a filter.

inviting hug
“Sorry,” she mumbled.

“Hey don’t apologize,” he leaned forward with an inviting hug. “I’ve missed you.”

As she leaned into his embrace, she could smell his woodsy shampoo, like a fine fur tree at Christmastide and a wisp of cherry wood smoke.She couldn’t help but smile when her gloved hands slipped through not one, but two tears in his favorite striped blue hoodie. For years, she told him to replace the jacket, but it was his treasured jacket. He would keep it forever… or at least until all the fabric had fallen from his body piece by piece. There was something comforting about the holes in the same place, slipping her hands through to his grey tee shirt as she had done many times before. She closed her eyes and celebrated the moment of intimate friendship. She knew him so well as to know where the rips in his jacket were. That spoke volumes about his level of trust to her, even if it seemed so trivial to him.

“You give the best hugs,” he whispered.

Her eyes lit up and she grinned with pride. “Thank you… and uh… my  couch is always open.”

Instantly, she regretted her statement, hoping he didn’t assume she was a drunken floozy with a revolving door.

“Thanks, I might take you up on it,” he replied. “Wanna grab some dinner?”

“I am starving,” she bobbed her head. “How much of the Hollow have you seen?”

“Not too much,” Mathias shrugged. “Usually I bypass this station.”

“Come on,” Aspen reached for her bag. “I know just the place.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I truly enjoyed writing this chapter. When I finished, I wondered if she was true to her character in The Lost Christmas, and then I realized, yes, outgoing introverts can appear to be different ways in different circumstances. As an INFJ, I’m infinitely more awkward in social situations than I am in workplace scenarios or situations where I am in charge of the safety and well-being of a group. I call it my “survival” mode too. 

Aspen is an over-analyzer, as is a common side effect of the overactive imagination and the overthinking habits of an INFJ mind. Perhaps it’s not always the healthiest trait, but here, I find Aspen’s awkwardness adorable and goofy. She’s a young woman in the early stages of love, but not obsession, even if she is obsessively detailed… like remembering the places where his jackets had tears… as if made for her fingers. Here’s an intimate moment between platonic friends, for now, and that’s what I love about writing this scene. 

Speaking of over-analyzing… XD A bit of “Hollow” history… Hidden Hollow popped up in Livin’ A Simmin’ Life (LASL). It is the location of Lizzie and Joseph’s impromptu honeymoon when they stay with Tara Terrano. The Hollows were relatively off-limits to outsiders and non-supernaturals, the borders often patrolled by police and military. Lizzie would’ve been about 25 during her stay in the Hollow. A few years later, she is estranged from her husband and it is during this time, I first wrote about the city-wide curfews.

The Cascadian parliament invoked a curfew in order to protect their citizens and to try and combat the violent vampire gangs, most in the Vampires for Freedom Alliance (VFFA) flooding the streets with illegal bloodlettings, and the Independent Order, two gangs of non-supernaturals “soldiering” to “protect” the rights and freedoms of typicals.

By the end of 2409, the Sim Nation had come to assist, forcing a ceasefire with their superior military presence and power, cleaning up the streets, and signing the Hollow Accords to promote peace and ensure civil liberties for supernaturals. In a swift and shrewd movement, Cascadia was annexed and the Sim Nation gained more power. Cascadia is technically a “territory” of the Sim Nation, but their queen co-rules with the Sim Nation president in a diarchy. Frances Beckett made history at the young age of 27 when she helped usher in the Hollow Accords. 

Maybe you don’t care that much about the history lesson or timeline, but I wanted to provide context for Aspen’s commentary. She is now a grown adult, recently acquiring her grandmother’s estate, left to her after the death of Frances Beckett. The year is approximately 2443. I’ve always assumed Lizzie was approximately 17 years older than Kass (KCLKF), and then Kass is about 20 years older than Aspen.

FYI, Pennant is my Simworld version of Hallmark Cards and Movies. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed! And thank you for putting up with all my excessive wordiness and details. 

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Episode 3.16 More Meltdowns (LASL)

popcorn snack
Popcorn as an after school snack is a great idea!

“Dad, this is the best!” Nate exclaimed.

Joey waved his hand. “Mmm… the butter smells delicious!”

“I’m glad you boys approve,” Joseph sat in a chair. “Did you invite your sister?

“She was sore about that Flint kid at school today,” Nate said, quickly gobbling up the pieces. “She said she hated popcorn.”

“Yeah, Dad, remember that time at the theater when she got sick after eating popcorn?” Joey interjected.

Nate and Joey talking about Park and popcorn “Yeah Dad,” Nate said, rolling his eyes. “Never again. Puke and popcorn.”

They both shuddered. Nate finished gobbling his popcorn.

“Man, you eat fast!” Joey sighed.

“No, I meant your other sister,” Joseph clarified.

“Nope,” Joey said, delicately popping a piece on his tongue. “She’s in her room all moody today too.”

Nate crossed his arms and shook his head. “Women!”

joey laughs in agreement. Joseph makes a face.
That made Joey cackle. Joseph paused, his face frozen in a strange smile. Oh his boys!
Carrie practices violin
Meanwhile, a frustrated Carrie attempted to practice her violin in her room.
Joey gets second bowl
Joey got his second bowl and a bowl for his mother. Parker decides to join the group. Joseph asked how she’s feeling. She replied calmer, but she still doesn’t really like popcorn. Nate asked if he can have Parker’s popcorn and mom’s.
Liz joins family
Lizzie returned to join the family at the table after changing into athletic wear. She thanked Joey for getting her a bowl. Nate asked if he could have Parker’s bowl. She shook her head and said she would save it for Carrie.
Carrie is sad but joins family
A moody Carrie appeared, wearing her black cat hoodie and ripped jeans.

“Hi honey, thanks for joining us,” Lizzie said.

Carrie simply frowned in return.

“I saved you some popcorn,” Parker offered, and elbowed her brother. “What Joey didn’t steal.”

“Hey!” Joey protested.

“What was that racket in your room?” Nate piped up. “It sounded like dying cats.”

Carrie bursts
Carrie burst into tears plopping at the table. Parker averted her eyes in discomfort, even though she had a similar meltdown not a half hour before. Joseph scolded his son, and sent Nate to his room. Joey dismissed himself to go do homework.

“What’s wrong, Carrie?” Joseph asked.

“Are you okay?” Lizzie inquired.

“Why didn’t you ask me that?” Parker glared.

“Parker, go do your homework with your brothers,” Joseph suggested.

“Fine,” Parker flounced from the room.

terrible

“I’m terrible,” Carrie sobbed. “I’ll never be great.”

“At the violin?” Lizzie deduced. “Honey, you just need to practice.”

Carrie dropped her hands from her face. “I can’t practice, Lizzie… not when the triplets make fun of me. I’m such a failure, Dad,” Carrie looked to Joseph for assurance.

Lizzie sighed. Her adopted daughter still wouldn’t call her mom. I’m such a failure as a mom to Carrie. She wondered why Rob ever thought she would be a good caregiver. She did the only thing she could think of – taking Carrie someplace safe.

Joey freaks out
Joey freaked out when he thought he saw a swishing monster tail swinging out from under Nate’s bed. He shrieked and decided he couldn’t do homework in the bedroom.

Parker“Don’t be such a fraidy cat!” Parker walked over and kicked at the bedspread.

Joey still shook his head and ran into the living room.

“What’s with him?” Nate asked, walking into the bedroom as Marshall leaped onto Joey’s bed.

“I dunno,” Parker grabbed her reading from the bookshelf.

carrie frowns

“Why are we in here?” Carrie stomped over to the master bathroom door and whirled around.

“Because we can talk in peace,” Lizzie replied. “Carrie, your success or failure in life doesn’t hinge on playing the violin. If it doesn’t bring you happiness, then maybe you should pick another instrument… or take a break from music.”

“I can’t do that!” Carrie wailed. “Then everyone in symphony at school is going to think I’m a quitter.”

“Why don’t we go sit on the couches?” Lizzie suggested. “It’s okay to walk away from things that make you cry. In fact, it’s healthy sometimes. It doesn’t matter what the other kids think or say.”

“I prefer to stand,” Carrie huffed. “And I don’t want to talk.”

Lizzie thought for a moment. “Then we can watch television or something. Or listen to music. What’s your favorite band these days?”

Carrie winces

“Uh…” Carrie scratched her head. “Magenta Night, I guess.”

“Okay, I’ll go find a song of theirs on the radio, and we’ll listen. We don’t have to say anything. Just listen. And then if you’re ready after the song is over, then we can talk. Or if not, we can keep listening.”

“They’ve got some language in their songs,” Carrie winced.

“That’s okay. The clean version should be the one on the radio,” Lizzie shrugged. “And I’m not going to sanitize the world for you, Carrie. I’d prefer not to hear those kinds of words from your mouth because you should set a good example for your brothers and sister and it’s decent practice, but it doesn’t do me any good to pretend those words don’t exist.”

Carrie is happier

“We’re really just going to listen to music?” Carrie’s eyes widened, skeptically. “No talking.”

“Only if you want to,” Lizzie said.

Carrie seemed to think for a moment, and then a slight smile began at her mouth corners.

“You know what, Lizzie?” she relaxed her shoulders. “You’re alright.”

“That’s what I’m aiming for!” Lizzie waved her arms. “Now what station are we tuning into?”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph and InfraGreen‘s Carrie. 

Episode 3.15 Parker’s Tantrum (LASL)

When Lizzie arrived home from her pre-birthday festivities with Karleen, she was greeted by Joseph and Parker.

“You could be a crossing guard,” Lizzie laughed. “We could find you in the dark!”

joe hugs liz
Joseph – where did you get that hideous bright yellow sweatshirt?

“Haha, very funny,” Joseph smirked as he hugged his wife.

“We could see you from Luna,” Parker interrupted, stomping her foot. “Dad! Mom! I hate school. I’m not going back.”

trying athleisure wear “I’m trying out the new athleisure wear from work,” Joseph replied to Lizzie’s comment.

“What? Sims.tv now has a clothing line?” Lizzie quirked a brow. “Couldn’t you have picked a less…highlighter color?”

Parker shrieks

“GAH!” Parker shrieked. “Mom! Dad! Did you hear me? I’m never going back.”

“Why Park?” Lizzie tiredly engaged his daughter.

“No, Parker, you don’t interrupt like that, and you don’t throw a tantrum,” Joseph corrected. “You’re too old for those anyway.”

tantrum Parker kept crying and stomping her feet and swinging her arms.

“When you’re ready to behave like a proper young lady, we’ll talk,” Joseph said as he walked into the dining room. “Boys!” he called. “I made popcorn.”

Lizzie grimaced. “Heh? Parker… please… stop yelling and use your words.”

Park yelling “I hate Dad! I hate you! I hate everything! I hate my life! GAHHHHH!” Parker screamed.

“Okay,” Lizzie rubbed her forehead. “Parker, I’m going to leave you in the hallway and when you’re ready to talk, come get your father or I. Until then, you can’t have popcorn.”

“I… don’t… want… pop…corn!” Parker bit out between shuddering angry sobs.

Joe hugs Park
“Parker, I love you, but please… stop screaming,” Joseph came back into the entryway and wrapped his arms around his daughter.

“Daddy!” Parker threw her arms around Joseph.

Lizzie stood awkwardly waiting for her husband to finish. “Tantrums are not okay, Park. Please tell us what’s wrong.”

“This boy…” Parker began. “…kept kicking my chair today and calling me parrot brain…I kept…” she hiccuped. “…asking the teacher questions and repeating back what she said… because I didn’t understand the assignment. And… the principal visited our class today… and the boy kept kicking me… and finally I wrote him a note…” she gasped for breath as she told her story. “…telling him to stop… and I said please… and he crushed it and turned it into a paper airplane… and he… he… he… tried to throw it at my head but instead he hit the principal in the back… and she sent us out into the hallway and we both got a failing grade for the day. And it’s so unfair!”

Liz greeted by Park and JoeLizzie sighed. She and Joseph shared a knowing look.

“I’m never going back… I hate him! I hate school! I hate the stupid… principal!”

“You know the Simithiopian Grey Parrot is actually a very smart bird,” Lizzie replied, dodging the actual issue at hand. “…so it could be considered a compliment he called you a parrot brain.”

“Mom!” Parker rolled her eyes.

“What your mother is trying to say is we will talk to your principal and your teacher, and we can explain the situation,” Joseph said.

“And you don’t hate your school or your principal,” Lizzie continued. “Hate is a strong word, Parker. And we should say something like you are unhappy with the situation.”

“I am!” Parker huffed, as she crossed her arms. “But okay… you’ll talk to them?”

flint rock is his name “Yes,” Lizzie replied, and Joseph nodded in affirmation. “And who’s the boy? Maybe we should talk to him and his parents too.”

“Good idea,” Joseph agreed.

“His name is Flint… Flint Rock,” Parker glared over her shoulder as she stomped off to her room. “And he’s as stubborn as his name sounds. Good luck, Mom and Dad. You’re gonna need it.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I have no idea where Joseph got the outfit. The only thing I could think of is a career outfit as I didn’t see it pop up on an option for “Dresser” under MC Command Center. I couldn’t change it even if I wanted to… as this is an ISBI, but I was curious. Hope you enjoyed. This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph.

Episode 3.14 A Glass Half-Full Life (LASL)

Lizzie confident I am approaching the birthday of birthdays. The one where I’m considered middle aged. Or a full adult that is. Who defines these things? I don’t know. I don’t much care.

I’ve heard people say they’re afraid of middle age. A life half-over. And they’re desperate to stay young with their anti-aging creams and hair dye and nips and tucks.

moonlight night

Nate, lizzie, marshall

Parker

Joseph and Joey Jr.

with Joseph

Dulcie

perk in step I prefer to think the glass half-full. I have a good job, a lovely home, four beautiful kids, two adorable pets, a doting husband, and I still have a perk in my step and my red hair. No dye for me yet, though I’m not sure I’ll ever need/want dye.

Lizzie at zen garden
“Peace is eternal. It is never too late to have peace. Time is always ripe for that. We can make our life truly fruitful if we are not cut off from our Source, which is the Peace of Eternity.” ~ Sri Chinmoy

I live in a bustling city, full of life and color. I’m always discovering new things. I like to go for walks in the city. The sights and sounds help me feel alive, filling me with wonder and inspiration for my stories. Just today I found a small Zen rock garden in the Fashion District. I found a quote on a plaque that seemed to validate my feelings. I am coming to terms with middle age, comfortable with myself and my life.

This is my timetable and my life. No one can tell me that I’m not ready for middle age. I will bravely face this glass-half-full life, even if wrinkles appear along my forehead, and I creak a little when I get out of bed. I’ve never felt more alive.

Lizzie chats on phoneAre you ready?” Karleen asked.

“For what?” I remarked.

For our last day as young women?” Karleen laughed.

“I’ll always feel young,” I sighed.

Karleen wondersI joined Karleen for lunch at our favorite food stall, The Golden Tiger. I was born in the third cycle of tigers. I always feel fortunate around my birthdays, counting my blessings, pondering the gifts I have been given.

“I wonder if the woohoo gets better with age,” Karleen mused. “Like pickles.”

As my chopsticks twisted in my fingers, I nearly dropped my Mapo Tobu. That’s Karleen for you! 

I made a face. “How about… a fine wine?”

you're better at this stuff “You’re better at this stuff, you know,” Karleen said.

“At what stuff?”

“The poetry of life and stuff.”

I was distracted by the passionate guitarist playing a powerful rock ballad. I had to admire her. A woman, older than I, breaking the stereotypes, flipping her silvery hair with black tips, and rocking her electric on the streets of San Myshuno, living her dream. I walked over and dropped Simoleons in her case, and she offered a grateful smile. A sharing of life together. It was a fleeting thought, but one that was still profound. Her heart and soul was in her music.

karaoke sugestion “Let’s go karaoke!” I suggested excitedly.

“What?” Karleen leaned back. “It’s the middle of the day!”

“Who cares?” I shrugged. “Oh and by the way, I want you to have this key.”

Karleen’s eyes twinkled. “To your heart?” she fluttered her lashes teasingly.

“No, to our apartment, in case we ever need you or Munter to come over and help out,” I replied. “For emergencies.”

waving key “With great power comes great responsibility,” Karleen said sternly, waving the key like a lightsaber with the noises to follow.

“Okay, Yoda!” I tilted my head to the side and smiled.

fashion district karaoke
We headed to Planet Honey Pop, placed our Simoleons in the machine, and picked up the microphones determined to have a good time.
friendship and fashion
We sang about friendship and good fashion choices – “these boots are made for walkin.'”
family
We sang our hearts out about family and friendships – “we are family! I’ve got all my sistas with me!”
gotta be the good life
We sang about life!

 

No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

lizzie searches a boxAfter, I walked to catch the subway home, drinking in the sights and sounds of my city and my life. A tired woman rested on the bench in the sunshine. I wished I had her security and faith in the City to watch over her while she slept.

I found a box of abandoned things. Was it a family forgetting that lone box when they moved? Was it a guy putting out the last of his girlfriend’s things? Was it a college student leaving things behind as they left for the semester break? The flap read free. So many stories.

looking in the boxI rummaged through the box. I wished I was as confident as that guy walking by on the street in his flowered jacket and pants and red boots, strutting as if it were his power suit.  He carried a mocha latte. Remember this is your timetable. Something compelled me to speak up.

“Hey, I like the flowers!”

“Why thank you sweetheart!”

I beamed. Kind words mean everything. I didn’t need to know this guy and his bleached blonde hair or his red boots or his olive skin. I could just open my mouth and give affirmation. Confirmation that we were still alive. So many stories.

thereThere. Now the items were organized with care. With love.  A package of pink and orange computer paper. A plant in a wicker basket. A box of tissues. A pair of blue sunglasses. A binder clip. A smiley face stress ball. Whomever would find the items next would have an easier time finding things. I pulled out my pen and wrote a tiny message. “Hope… because you can do it!

It’s the little things in life that get us through the days, when the shadow appears bigger than the human, and encroaches on the sunlit stones. But the path wouldn’t be complete without the halves – the light and the dark made the glass half full life.

walk tallWalk tall, my spirit whispers. You’ve got this.


Author Notes: This chapter turned out to be something completely different than I expected. I started writing and it wasn’t until I stopped I realized I made a statement. I’m not near what society deems as “middle age” yet, but I did just pass a milestone birthday. Even with how crazy this year has been for me already, I wouldn’t change it. I think I’m going to love this season of my life. Older age is not something to be afraid of, and in fact, it can be a time of deep appreciation and great adventure. Who says it’s gotta end with the younger years? I’d argue my limited older years have been better because of my family and friends and peace with coming to terms with myself, which is exactly what Lizzie is doing here. 

Even with the ISBI, I had some fun with this chapter – Karleen making jokes about woohoo, giving a friend an apartment key, the random karaoke, the encounters on the street, and the whims Lizzie rolled during this chapter. I could tell – she was practically radiating with contentment and joy. The kiddos aged up, and unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of teenage Carrie. The next chapter. 

This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph and Dulcie… and I have to add, I love this cast of colorful characters, and even the extras and their crazy EA-generated outfits. Haha! It’s what makes the Sims… and life special! 

Episode 3.13, Pt. 6: Six Degrees of Separation (LASL)

Karleen
When her conversation with John didn’t go well, Ash called her old roommate. Karleen was too busy to answer.

“We should get a pool like Riley and Akira!” Karleen exclaimed.

“It would cost a fortune to put in a pool,” Munter sighed.

“What? I’m bringing home the bacon now… with my cooking classes income,” Karleen placed her hands on her hips and shook from side to side. “I earn my keep. I could afford a pool!”

blowing a kiss

“Karleen, it’s not that. A pool is impractical in a penthouse,” Munter replied.

“Then let’s buy another penthouse,” she planted a kiss on his cheek.

for you my love
Munter couldn’t say no to his wife.

“For you, my love, anything!”

“Anything? Like a new puppy? Oh Munter, let’s get a new puppy!”

sparkles and magic
…more like sparkly magic and a new baby! XD

little Sage

“Pepper, what is it?”

“Daddy! Daddy! Mommy got poof!”

Munter smiled. “Yes, baby. You’re going to have a new little brother or sister soon.”

sage and the unicorn
Maple eyed the unicorn sharply. I could take you!
reading to his kids
While Karleen spent her days lounging as she grew larger and larger (and complained she was growing a watermelon), Munter spent as much time with his kids as his schedule would allow. Reading time was a favorite activity in the Bacon residence… at least for Pepper.

“Daddy! I want to play!” Maple shrieked.

play time
He was her servant, and she was, of course, the princess.
babysitter and homework
Pepper didn’t want to play. Instead she went to work on her homework – an artistic interpretation of her family life through a palette of color. She showed the babysitter, Brad.

“The blue represents the calm… like my dad. Red is mom…” she squinted her eyes in annoyance. “And orange is Maple…” she threw a glance over her shoulder. “She’s a wild card.”

“I see,” said Brad.

what is that?
Nine months passed with little event… well, other than Karleen’s usual antics. Munter did upgrade all the appliances in the house to unbreakable. What is that awful racket upstairs? Munter was attempting to watch the nightly news before heading up to change for his night shift at the club. Oh that’s right. Munter owns a nightclub now! A step up from billionaire bartender.

salsa “I’m learning to salsa!” Karleen said, exasperated as she flounced down the stairs.

“What? That’s not the kids at 10 o’clock at night?” Munter pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why am I not surprised, love?”

“I’ve gotta push off the baby fat somehow,” Karleen sighed, placing her hands on her hips.

“Oh I can think of a way that’s way less noisy!” Munter raised his voice.

“Oh yeah!” Karleen looked at him over the rim of her sunglasses.

happy Sims going to bed
Well, that’s a matter of opinion, Munter. Unless this is “Don’t Wake the Baby” edition! 😛

Author Notes: At least someone has a happy marriage. I swear these two are part-rabbit the way they go at it. XD. And Karleen had baby number 3 – another girl! What a surprise! And her name is Apple. This concludes the Side Tracks: Meanwhile in Another Part of Town. Thanks for reading. This chapter featured Munter Bacon‘s Munter Bacon as a submitted Simself, and another show-stealing appearance by Karleen Corey. 

EDIT: When I first wrote this, I mixed up the Bacon girls names. I have since then corrected this. 

Episode 3.13, Pt. 5: Six Degrees of Separation (LASL)

john thinking
John couldn’t believe he had been so stupid. How could a man forget his own wedding? Ash said she didn’t want to get married just yet. She wanted to travel more to exotic locations and uncover the world’s secrets. John supported her, but he had hoped to settle down with a nice girl by now and have some kids. Ash didn’t want to be a mother. That was a shocker. They had never talked about not wanting kids. Now it was too late.

john runs

“Dad, you didn’t have to come all the way to the City,” John sighed.

“Of course, I did, my son’s married and miserable now,” Jude replied.

“Yeah, well, I left my wallet in the car and we aren’t getting into the gym without it,” John ran toward the street parking.

ash
Ash took her martial frustrations out on the punching bag. Yeah, I’m Ash, and I’m a hardcore reporter. Mother doesn’t fit my image.
this place
John scoped the place with his dad, choosing an area on the opposite side of the gym as his new wife. He knew enough to give her space.
ash confronts john
Ash went to find her new “accidental” husband on the roof of the gym. He was eating a late afternoon snack.

“We should talk.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured submitted Sim, TheYayToast‘s Ash. 

Episode 3.13, Pt. 4: Six Degrees of Separation (LASL)

Bugsie flew
Meanwhile in another part of the park..

“Okay, Kolby, I flew all the way to Simland to pick up our daughter this time,” Bugsie said, after sitting in the park waiting for her ex for nearly an hour. “What’s so important?”

“That’s all your gonna say to me?” Kolby replied. “You look good, Bugs.”

“Yeah,” Bugsie shook her head. “You didn’t call me all the way to the Sim Union for a game of chess, did you?”

“No, you know my dad died,” Kolby replied. “I could use a date to the funeral.”

“Oh gawd! Kols, I didn’t know. I’m sorry,” Bugsie said, sympathetically.

Joseph
Joseph crashes the game.

“Hey, funny seeing you here, neighbor!” Joseph interrupted, plopping himself down at the table.

“Joseph, what are you doing in the Sim Union?” Bugsie exclaimed.

“So this is your new beau, huh?” Kolby said, eyeing Joseph judgmentally.

“Uh… what?” Joseph grimaced.

“No, no,” Bugsie protested.

“I just finished up some business for Sims.tv,” Joseph offered. “Didn’t mean to interrupt. Just thought I’d play a game in the park before catching my flight… but I’ll leave you two alone.”

Joseph walked away, and Kolby smirked. “You can’t replace me. I’m one of a kind.”

Bugsie scowled. “Yeah, you are. And Joseph really is my neighbor. My married neighbor.”

home again
Thirty six hours later, Kolby and Bugsie were back Stateside after a shopping trip, funeral, and a hasty hook-up at the hotel in Sim City during the layover between flights. As usual, Bugsie was regretting things, but her ex was too good to resist. Now she was getting home from her shift at the restaurant, ready to make waffles for dinner. Kolby stood in the center of the room, his daughter in his arms, and a suitcase by his feet.

“So you’re leaving again?” she grunted.

Typical. 

“I’ve got… some…” Kolby swallowed hard. “It was good to see you Bugsie.”

“Really?” she scowled, placing a hand on her hip.

“Daddy, don’t leave,” Mariposa wailed.

“I can stay the night if you want, sugar pea,” Kolby nestled his daughter’s hair.

alone
Tonight, he opted to sleep on the living room sofa. Bugsie slept alone. It was probably better that way.
mariposa's dad
The only member of the opposite sex her ex was good with was their daughter. Mariposa thought her daddy hung the moon and stars. Bugsie knew Kolby was more like the dark side of the moon – mysterious and always out of reach. But she couldn’t help getting caught up in the magical eclipse of her heart. Get too close and get burned, she thought bitterly.
i want dad
…and she was left to pick up the pieces when he left. Why wouldn’t Mommy feed her cake and ice cream for dinner? Why didn’t Mommy let her watch TV cartoons instead of reading from a boring book? Why did Daddy always have to leave? Bugsie hated being the bad guy.
calling ash
Bugsie called up a friend who didn’t have kiddos yet. She needed to talk about something other than potty training and princess dolls tonight, and she needed a distraction from Kolby.

“No, I’m just cooking dinner,” Ash said. “Chicken Saltimbocca.”

That sounds like heaven compared to half-burnt mac and cheese,” Bugsie sighed. “What’s going on with you? I need the distraction. Tell me something good. Actually, anything. I’m dying for adult conversation.”

“Oh, John and I eloped to Lucky Palms over the weekend,” Ash said, nonchalantly.

What?” Bugsie squealed. “That’s great. Congrats!”

“Uh, not really,” Ash winced, glancing over at her new husband who was furiously chopping tomatoes. “We don’t remember doing it.”

Heat of the moment thing?” Bugsie sympathized.

“We got pretty wasted. The whole trip was…let’s just say I don’t think either of us were lucid the entire time.”

Aw, Ash, I’m sorry.”

john is sad

“Yeah. Me too.”


Author Notes: Sad things happening to my Sims. Bugsie’s mysterious ex, the father of her baby Mariposa, finally made an appearance. I was shocked to see Joseph, but this is an ISBI. I had to roll with it. My game glitched out so I didn’t get any images of the “hook-up” between Bugsie and Kolby. Their relationship is hot and cold, and Kolby broke up with Bugsie again after arriving back home. Pfft! And Ash and John getting married? Whoa! Curveball. Haven’t checked in with them in awhile and that’s what happened. Both were sad and angry with one another. Married life isn’t going well. Oh dear! Can’t be all sunshine and rainbows. Sorry Bugs and Ash. :/ Thanks for reading. This chapter featured TheYayToast‘s Ash, Bugsie2016‘s Bugsie, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph.

Chapter One: Divine Detail (IGW)

“Caress the detail, the divine detail.” ~Vladimir Nabokov

I dreamed my mother was an angel. A guardian of old. A protector as old as time itself. Created to be my watcher. Observing me from afar. Guiding my decisions with gentle whispers. Nudges toward those choices that would best reflect who I am and what I was created to be.

When Aspen awoke, she realized it was nothing. She wasn’t there. It was just a dream. Yet as she shifted in her train seat, with the blue and grey pinstripe, the aroma of much-too-strong perfume wafting from the plump elder Bernish-woman of a seatmate, Aspen couldn’t help but feel a motherly presence, even if it did not belong to her own.

She did what she always did. Routine was important to Aspen. Her bag went over her left shoulder, her right gloved hand clutching her train pass. Exiting the subway at the underground Pleasant Park Station (yes, she was aware of the irony of the name as this was Hidden Hollow after all), she walked to a nearby teakwood park bench to collect herself and wait out the rush of the disembarking passengers. Even though she had just been sitting for almost two hours, she plopped on the seat, leaned back, and closed her eyes, listening to the whoosh of the train’s air brakes as the subway continued onto its next destination. A smirk of recognition crossed her face as she tuned into her senses, as if sharing in a secret truth with the cosmos.

A man plopped on her bench. He sat dangerously close, his cream suit jacket lined with the drizzle of milk chocolate, a cider colored scarf wrapped about his neck. He smelled of musty old books as one would expect of a librarian or a reclusive writer, the faint peppermint in pipe tobacco, and cedarwood cologne. He didn’t even seem to notice her presence, completely engrossed in the novel balanced on his right hand; he didn’t seem to be aware of his subtle invasion. An awkward smile crossed her face as the tension flooded her body. She clenched and unclenched her fingers against her swishy orange ski pants. Never one to be impolite, she managed a soft “good day” before deciding to move along. The man, with hair like golden blonde rays of exploding at sunset, merely grunted.

patchwork cardboard stage

When one spends much time looking down, one notices and remembers strange things. It’s not like Aspen merely wanted to avoid eye contact. She could learn a lot about things close to the ground, and develop an appreciation for oft unseen things. A persistent trail of ants joining a picnic  answer nature’s call, keeping to their line because order is how they survive. The frolicking feet show the spirit and vitality of the children skipping and playing. Patchwork cardboard becomes the street musician’s stage and the hip-hop dancer’s party ground. Cracks in the pavement stones may appear signs of wear and tear to the untrained eye, but to Aspen, silent stories of the years of travelers coming to and fro.

Today, she caught sight of the familiar, a pair of athletic shoes, midnight and royal blue number four with yellow laces. Somehow the soles survived numerous hikes in winter snow, and looked as new as the day they were purchased. The shoes were the ones she recommended many years ago to a wandering soul who hopped a train without a plan.

Heart searching for survival turned to a yearly tradition of returning what was out of balance where man met mountains and mountains met the yearning sky. The sweet bonds of friendship formed through kicking over rocks and unearthing the rich treasures of the Cascadian Mountains. At journey’s end, two spirits returned to the world less fragmented and scattered.

Her hand released the suitcase handle in apprehensive excitement. This year, the shoes were early. Aspen inhaled and exhaled into relaxation. She didn’t mind.

Hello, old friend.”


Author Notes: Welcome to my brand new legacy series: The Introvert’s Guide to the World (IGW). I posted yesterday about where this challenge came from, and how it works, and who my founder is, Aspen Beckett. You may recognize her from my Lost Christmas story. This is a brand new legacy challenge – The Introverts Legacy, and you can read the rules and contribute to this challenge by making (constructive) suggestions. I’d love to get your feedback. 

Thank you for reading. I really enjoyed slipping into every corner of this chapter’s experience in-game, honing in on all the little things I usually ignore. I thought about how I am and how I react to external and internal stimuli as an INFJ, channeling those thoughts and emotions and experiences into Aspen’s. While Kass is an reflection on my younger self, and Lizzie is a bolder, more confident version of myself, and both ladies have their own quirks and full-fledged personality, Aspen Beckett truly feels like a dive deep into my senses. As I recently adopted two kittens, I have noticed more things at my feet, the tiny details on the floor like a crinkled plastic wrapper, a lost button,  and a bright red piece of thread. I find myself making up stories as I make the zone safer for my little fur babies.  As Vladimir Nabokov writes, I find myself encountering,  cherishing these tiny details,  my life in the details of little lost things on the floor, connecting to something transcendent,  divine even – a moment where the world slows down.  

One quick side-note: Bernish is the descriptor for the people of Hibernia, my Simworld version of the Irish/Scottish.  

Introvert’s Guide to the World: An Introverts Legacy Challenge

Introducing a New Kind of Legacy Challenge 

I have been contemplating a new series and sort-of legacy challenge. I want to explore my personality type and different types of introversion. I’m thinking 8 generations of the different introverted types, starting with my own, and then maybe an ambivert. I might even continue on with a series of extroverts.  The purpose would be to explore the different things about introverts that make us unique and to better understand myself as well as the other personality types.

Yes, let’s get this out of the way. In no way, shape, or form do I plan to “box” a person into a certain role, or say that a certain personality type has to be one way. This is just for a fun story. The Myers-Briggs types are generalizations, I’ll admit that, but I do find studying the types to be fascinating, and great inspiration for character creation. Of course, I’ll be exploring the multi-faceted aspects of personality, beyond mere “typecasting.” My goal is to be respectful, thoughtful, introspective, exploratory, curious, connected, and in rhythm with the truths I know in my own life.

Aspen christmas

Legacy Founder

My legacy founder will be Aspen Beckett (pictured center in orange), featured in my The Lost Christmas story I wrote for the Secret Santa challenge last year. I hope to feature other characters from that story also throughout my introvert challenge.

Hidden Hollow

World

I selected Hidden Hollow as the world where my first Introvert will live since the world is small and secluded. I renamed Forgotten Hollow in my Side Tracks series. In my Simworld, the map in my head has San Myshuno within a short train’s ride of Hidden Hollow in addition to  Magnolia Promenade. Also Granite Falls is close by in the Cascadian Mountain Range in northwest Sim Nation and southwest Cascadia.

These are the four worlds I plan on visiting most prominently (think upper Northwest US/Canada).  As part of the challenge, she cannot venture into the other worlds without good reason. I’ll reserve the right to make a judgement call. (I may have her travel to Selvadorada later in game because of her Outdoor Enthusiast aspiration).

Aspen

Personality

Aspen is an INFJ, Introverted iNtuitive, Feeling, and Judging plus Turbulent. This personality is based on the 16 Personalities test available on 16personalities.com. INFJ-T is the same personality type as my own. I’ve been learning more about myself and my personality type, and I think it’ll be fun to explore my personality and others in game. I’ll briefly overview what each letter means:

  • The first letter (I) relates to the mind and how we interact with our surroundings. Introverts prefer solitary activities and become easily exhausted in highly social situations. They tend to enjoy solitude and are sensitive to external stimuli.
  • The second letter relates to energy and how we see the world and process stimuli. Intuitives (N) tend to be imaginative, open-minded, and curious, often asking “why” questions. They focus on hidden meaning and future possibilities as well as enjoying novelty, often daydreaming and thinking about ways to make improvements for the better. This also influences communication styles as Intuitives tend to enjoy talking about ideas, abstract concepts, and allusion.
  • The third letter (F) Feeling relates to nature and how we make decisions and cope with emotion. Feeling types are sensitive and emotionally expressive, empathetic, and focus on social harmony and cooperation rather than competition. They will often fight for what they believe in and are less concerned with professional success and money than following their values, principles, and hearts.
  • The fourth letter (J) Judging relates to tactics and how we approach work, planning, and decision making. Judging types tend to be decisive and organized, preferring predictability, structure, and closure.
  • The fifth letter, added by 16Personalities, relates to identity and how confident we are in our decisions and abilities. Turbulent (T) individuals are sensitive to stress and self-conscious, driven to be successful, and are often perfectionists, constantly looking to improve.

Aspen thinking

Traits

I’ve selected the following traits:

Base Traits: Loner. Perfectionist. Creative.

Additional Traits: Good. Neat.

I have a mod that allows me to equip additional traits.

Aspen outdoorsAspiration

When considering which aspiration to select, I weighed a few factors. Aspen was an Outdoor Nature Guide and Mountaineering Expert in Lost Christmas. The freelance botanist would definitely give Aspen the ability to grow her own plants, beautify her world, hitting her love of nature, and make some money outside of a career.

Ultimately, I chose Outdoor Enthusiast because of Aspen’s background, passion, interests, and personality. Plus the reward trait: Survivalist is most fitting, especially if she will spend a lot of time outdoors: “Gives Sims positive Moodlets while living off the land. For example, sleeping in a Tent will give a +1 6h Happy Moodlet.” This isn’t to say I won’t complete other aspirations.

Aspen protesting

Career

For her career, there isn’t one particularly suited to an INFJ. I found a Social Services mod by missmani09 on MTS. You could also go the Angel Investor route with Business. Or if your INFJ Sim is super creative, you could make an argument for the Art Critic (as it hits the creative and curious aspects of Intuitive, emotionally expressive aspect of feeling, and decisive aspect of judging), or Patron of the Arts in the Painter career or either Author or Journalist branch of the Writer Career. (My character, Kass in The Krazy Crazy Life of Kassiopeia Fullbright, is also an INFJ, and is a passionate journalist). You can really make it what you want.

I’ve decided to have Aspen work her way through different levels of the Charity Organizer Branch in the Political Career as I’ve never attempted this career branch before in TS4. Also, I think it fits the Introvert with Extroverted Tendencies personality well, plus fits the curiosity, open-mindedness, and questioning nature of the Intuitive, the empathetic, social harmony and cohesion traits of the Feeling self,  the decisive and organized nature with a desire for closure of the Judging self, and the drive for a better world though perfectionistic tendencies as a Turbulent individual.

wellnessInterests and Goals

Aspen has a passion for wellness, the outdoors, and the arts. One of Aspen’s personal and career goals will be to help others find health and wellness, healing, balance, and purpose in life.

One of her goals will be to create an arts club, wellness club, or an outdoors club or a combination of all three. The end goal will be to have Aspen start a nonprofit as INFJ’s aren’t called the Advocates for no reason. She hopes to marry these three passions into one for her nonprofit.

There isn’t an option to have a nonprofit in Sims 4 yet, so I will probably have her “purchase/own” a “retail” business because you can’t own a nonprofit in Sims 4. She will create a little store with products related to her nonprofit services.

She will create a plan and stick to routines often (Judging), though her interest in novelty and new ideas may encourage her to branch out and try new things (Intuitive). She will prioritize work and duties (family/relationships) over other whims/tasks (Judging).

cookingMoney

I will start Aspen out with 30,000 Simoleons. I read somewhere that 10 Simoleons is the equivalent of 1 US dollar, so this equivalent is approximately $3000.

In terms of spending money, Aspen approaches money in a way to please others and then herself. If spending money does not improve someone’s life or her own in a meaningful way, Aspen will not spend it (and she won’t complete the whim). In this challenge, one of my rules is a Sim cannot complete a whim contradictory to their nature.

Friendships and Romance

In terms of approaching friendships and romance, Aspen takes relationships seriously. She prefers deep, intimate relationships, disliking small talk and she is highly selective about romantic partners. Aspen will need to work hard to get to know someone before choosing a friendship. Her closest or best friend(s) will need to have at least 1 of the same traits as her own as part of the challenge aspect.

Additionally, as a perfectionist, Aspen looks to achieve all goals on a romantic date before asking a potential partner to be a boyfriend or to accept an offer of a committed relationship. Aspen will not befriend/date/marry someone with the Evil, Noncomittal, or Mean traits.

Relational decay may be stressful so if the relationship naturally decays in game, I may let the relationship deteriorate. She will avoid competition as much as possible (Feeling) and will strive to make others happy (Feeling).

Aspen may be less likely to initiate social interaction, but she does like being invited to things/included (I/F). If invited somewhere out of her 4 “worlds,” she will need to decline until she is at least halfway though a career, aspiration, or skill learning. She will also share ideas and ask questions during social interactions (I).

confident Emotions

I often work to make sure my Sims avoid negative emotions in game. Because of Aspen’s Feeling trait, I want her to embrace her emotions, even the negative ones. Part of the challenge will entail me full exploring “feeling” interactions. Ideal emotion is probably Inspired given the creativity of the Intuitive’s personality. Confident will help with stabilizing her Turbulent nature, and her career.

Because she is a perfectionist and eager to improve, she will work to learn many skills, read many books, and maintain high work performance. She will work to maintain high wellness as a stress management technique for her turbulent nature.

Mods I Use

I don’t use a lot of mods, except for custom clothing/accessories. However, I will list the ones I feel will help gameplay and the challenge I’m playing.

If you can recommend other mods that would be helpful with an Introverts Legacy Challenge, let me know.

Aspen is her own person

Disclaimer

Aspen is not me. Just like Kass from KCLKF isn’t me. Just like Lizzie, while based on me, in LASL, diverges and becomes her own person/Sim. These three lovely Sims are outlets for my creativity and ways to explore aspects of myself and the world, but they do not represent me. Aspen is her own person. Also any characters in this world of mine are not intended to resemble any real person in my life or in general.

My interpretation of the INFJ and additional introverts (or other personalities) isn’t exclusive to every INFJ or introvert in general. These personality types merely provide structure and a guide for creating a character and crafting a story. I’d love to hear about your experiences as an INFJ or with INFJ’s or another personality type. I’d also love to hear about what personality types you’d like to see featured.

Learn More about introverts

You can also do your own research, or read the articles I have in order to better understand introversion or the personality traits/types. I rely heavily on 16personalities.com – you can take the test to determine your own type/traits, learn more about 16personalities.com’s framework, or read other articles about introversion – here or here. Of course, these aren’t sites I use exclusively, so I’ll be sure to mention resources when applicable throughout the story.

…a life composed of dreams, weaving the unconscious beauty of the soul into the everyday joys of the mundane.

The INFJ: Champion for the Cause 

The challenge guidelines below are meant to be a guideline for my story and challenge, but feel free to tweak and/or make your own suggestions. The items in bold are the most important guidelines, in my opinion to make an Introverts Challenge work. I typed up a list of rules if you want to play along or play something similar. Eventually, I’ll write rules for each personality type, but for now I’m starting with INFJ. You can select Assertive or Turbulent.

Guidelines
  • Only 1 founding Sim – gender, appearance, voice, walk style, etc. is up to you.
  • You must complete the generation’s aspiration, be in level 8 of a career, and any additional generational requirements before moving on to the next generation.
  • Each generation needs a new aspiration never before used/attained. (If you want to make it more complicated, the same can apply to careers).
  • No restarting the game, even if something bad happens (i.e. death or gender choice for child, etc.).
  • Adding Sims to your household: each generation has different requirements for this rule. See below.
  • Can only use 1 anti-aging potion once during their lifetime/generation only if it is fitting for the personality type.
  • You can only play your Legacy household, but you may move other Sims into the neighborhood.
  • Off Limits rewards: Money Tree reward is off limits until Gen 10 has completed their aspiration. Retraiting Reward is off limits.
  • If you roll a whim contradictory to the rules for gameplay and/or generation-specific rules, you may not complete it.
  • Townies should age so you’ll have future options for spouses.
  • Aging must be turned on (though you can turn aging off temporarily if townies appear to be getting too old and/or die off too fast for the potential for romantic partners and friends).
  • Each generation has different rules for moving other Sims in and out of your home.
Succession Laws

I plan to play as follows. Those highlighted in red are a must. Everything else is optional.

  • Your heir must remain in the household until the start of their generation. Spares, spouses, and roommates may move out. Each generation has slightly different rules. See more below.
  • When the next generation takes over, your previous generation may choose to break some of the rules they were bound to – i.e. move, visit other towns, find a new romantic partner, make more friends, have another child, etc. This option is only available once the next generation takes over as a Young Adult.
  • Gender: Equality – Founder may be any gender, and any gender is eligible for heir.
  • Bloodline: Modern – Both naturally born children and adopted children are eligible for heir.
  • Heir: Each generation has different requirements for who succeeds as heir.
  • Species: Tolerant – The species of the child has no impact on their eligibility as heir.
Allowances
  • Mods are allowed, but you cannot use any mods that give your Sims an advantage for the challenge. I use MC Command Center for example. I could say utilize the “Dresser” portion of this mod to change a Sim’s outfit (as I do this regularly), but I couldn’t use a skill/mood/relationship/pregnancy/command mod cheat.
  • Cheats are not allowed (unless your Sim gets stuck, then Reset Sim is permitted), except the initial money cheat.
  • Custom clothing and accessories are allowed.
  • Adoption is allowed.
  • Spouses and roommates are allowed to bring their own money into the household, because this doesn’t seem true to real life otherwise. This does not count toward your Sim’s personal funds. You will need to keep track.
  • If a death occurs, unlike other challenges, you don’t fail, unless you don’t already have an heir. Your heir takes over, regardless of age. If your Sim dies before completion of generation, you may play as a ghost, only if you don’t already have a future heir…because I think it’s fun to play as a ghost. This will reset your relationships and may require you to re-complete goals/rules listed below.
Gameplay and Backstory

I prefer to leave the details fluid so you can truly make the challenge your own. Everyone’s personality is unique and everyone’s experience is different. I would recommend starting with your own personality. I plan to highlight the Introverted types first, but I will look into Extroverted types later.

Backstory:

Your Sim is passionate about a cause and wants to make a difference in the world and leave a legacy of good. *You can add additional family, personality, career, skill, interest, and lifestyle ideas.

Location:

  • Move your founder into any home – premade or build-it-yourself. No restrictions.
  • Optional: I selected 3-5 towns/worlds where my Introverted Sim will be allowed to visit (and if invited to social gatherings in other worlds, my INFJ will decline). This adds another layer of challenge.
  • Optional: Your INFJ Sim will be more comfortable with social gatherings in their own home.

Traits:

  • Recommended traits for the INFJ: Loner, Creative, Perfectionist, Good, and/or Neat (Loner is the most important; all others are your personal choice)
  • Recommended traits to avoid: Cannot have the Bro, Outgoing, Evil, Mean, Self-Absorbed, Noncommital, or Insider (Get Together) traits.

Ideal Emotion: Inspired

Aspirations:

  • Choose your aspiration based on the INFJ personality: solitary or loner activities (I), creative activities (N), emotional outcomes (F), or activities that require order, discipline, and predictability (J)
  • Recommended aspirations: Bestselling Author, Bodybuilder, Freelance Botanist, Musical Genius, Nerd Brain, Outdoor Enthusiast, Painter Extraordinaire, Renaissance Sim, Soulmate, Super Parent, and/or Successful Lineage
  • Recommended aspirations to avoid: Friend of the World, Public Enemy, Party Animal, and/or World Famous Celebrity

Skills:

  • No major restrictions
  • Cannot use skill cheats or mods that give you a skill advantage
  • Recommended skill to avoid: Mischief

Rewards:

  • Optional rewards to work toward can include rewards that benefit/boost solitary and loner activities (I), creativity and observation (N), emotions (F),and detail/order/neatness (J).

Whims:

  • Cannot complete a whim that is contrary to their nature

Career:

  • Select a career fitting of the personality. Recommended careers: Business (Angel Investor), Critic (Art), Painter (Patron of Arts), Writer (Author/Journalist), Political (Charity Organizer) OR Custom Career (like Social Services
  • You may also work as a Freelancer or register with the Ministry of Labor and create your own career related to your skill sets and interests (though you will need to make money just like anything else and cannot use “cheats” to generate income for your household).
  • Recommended careers to avoid: Anything involving too much celebrity and limelight, anything too technical, or anything venturing into evil or disservice to society.

Friendship:

  • Develop 1 best friend with at least 1 shared trait
  • Choose to “share ideas” and ask questions in social interactions regularly

Romance:

  • Be good friends with potential partner.
  • Should avoid romance with a potential partner with any of the following traits: Mean, Evil, or Noncommittal
  • Complete all goals during 3 dates before becoming a boyfriend/girlfriend or asking a Sim to be your boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Become sweethearts before pursuing marriage or woohooing. (Bonus if your Sims are soulmates).

Parenting:

  • Focus on teaching independence and responsibility
  • Encourage creativity
  • Perform 3 distinct “teachable” moments with child (1 for each level: toddler, child, and teen)

Succession:

These “guidelines” provide a challenge aspect and are based on the INFJ personality type’s Parenting style as outlined by 16personalities.com/infj-parents. The heir for Generation 2 must:

  • Have a high friendship with the INFJ parent
  • Must share 1 trait of the INFJ parent
  • Must have developed 1 life skill to level 3 before YA (i.e. cooking, handiness, fitness, gardening, logic, wellness, or writing)
  • Must have held a job as a teen (responsibility)

Hop to the Introvert’s Challenge Page! (which has near identical content as here, but also has a section for Future Personality Types and will be updated as I go).

The Lost Christmas (a short)

Author Note: This story was written for LegacySims2017 as part of a Secret Santa Exchange (December 2018) hosted by Karilan. Sorry it took me forever to upload to here. Enjoy Christmas in June! 


It was two days before Christmas. I was lost somewhere in Granite Falls National Forest, driving on fumes, the cans attached to my rear bumper long ago lost on the windy snow-covered roads. I rounded another sharp curve, blurry-eyed. Then everything was went white.

As I stepped from the vehicle, I’m not sure what was worse – the shock of the frigid mountain air or the shock of the near fatal accident. Limousines are not designed for traction. Leaving the driver’s side door ajar, I winced as I glanced over the rock face. Whoa! That’s a long way down!

You may ask how I ended up here. I was a runaway bride. It’s not what you think. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy proposes. Girl says yes. Boy leaves girl at the altar. Jilted bride steals the limousine and drives herself deep into the woods. Story of my life.  

A sheer jewel-studded wedding dress is not ideal winter wear. A car horn honking brought me out of my miserable reverie. Truck lights temporarily blinded my view.

“Ma’am, what are you doing wandering our roads at night?” the female driver inquired.

“Can I get a lift? I uh…crashed.”

The woman, dressed in a bright orange ski suit, threw a blanket over my shoulders and helped me in the passenger side.

“The name’s Aspen Beckett,” the redhaired woman said.

“Bren…da…” my teeth chattered, as I placed my frozen hands against the vents.

“What are you doing all the way out here? You could’ve died of exposure.”

“Look… can you take me back the other way? I can show you where my vehicle is.”

“No can do,” Aspen said. “Avalanche. About an hour ago. Came to investigate. Only way to go is up,” Aspen continued. “I know a place where we can get you a change of clothes and a hot shower.”

I closed my eyes, and leaned my head back against the seat. “Sounds wonderful.”

Forty minutes later, I emerged from the camping restroom, almost reluctantly. Aspen found clothes and boots in my size, miraculously, in the lost and found box. She explained some skiers, snowboarders, and committed outdoor enthusiasts liked to camp in the National Forest even in the winter so the Rangers kept the bathrooms open and the hot water running. I was grateful to be rescued.

“You’re not a Ranger, are you, Aspen?” I asked.

The woman laughed. “No. I’m not. I guess you could call me a search and rescue specialist.  I work with the sheriff’s department and the National Park Service, but I’m an independent contractor. I hire out as a guide sometimes too. I’m coordinating with the National Park Service to find and rescue the trapped civilians up here.”

“Trapped?” I hated the nervousness creeping into my tone.

Aspen laid a hand on my shoulder. “Come on townie, I’ve got more to pick up.”

We drove to a small clearing in the woods about twenty minutes away. Aspen hopped from the vehicle, urging me to follow. She approached a group of four people, three men and a woman.

“Everyone okay?” she asked, briskly.

They all answered with a variant of ‘yes.’

“Brenda, this is Mathias Watson,” Aspen nodded to a man mostly dressed in blue, with a beard and beanie cap. “And Neal…” she indicated to the man in the grey jacket and fedora.

“Over there is Paisley…”

“Hey,” the woman dressed from head to toe in pink waved.

“And that’s Spencer doing the sit-ups in the snow.”

The man dressed in black grinned as he leaped to his feet. “Just trying to keep warm, Beckett.”   

“And this is Brenda everyone.”

I smiled shyly.“Hi.”

“Let’s move out,” Aspen hollered. “We’ve got one more to collect.”

Paisley collapsed in the snow. “It’s almost ten,” she complained. “My feet hurt.”

“They’ll hurt worse if you get hypothermia,” Spencer warned, covering his face as he blew hot air to warm his hands.

“Wait… um…” I interjected glancing back at the road longingly. “Shouldn’t we drive to shelter?”

“It’s over a day’s drive,” Aspen stopped in her tracks and called over her shoulder. “I’m not risking it this late at night.”

“But…but…what…about… the bath…bathrooms?” I sputtered.

“You wanna hang out in there all night?” Neal chortled. “Be my guest, lady.”

“Best to bed down for the night,” Aspen said, before continuing down the trail.

I fell in step next to Mathias. “I thought she said it was a day’s drive to the shelter,” I said quietly.

“It is, but there are tents up ahead, sheltered from this wind,” Mathias explained.

“Don’t forget me.”

A skinny man in a white coat approached from beyond a grove of trees. A shock of dyed pink hair peeked out from beneath his tall white hat with a sprig of holly attached.

“Is that…” I gasped. “Jonny Vasquez? The rock star?”

“Must be celebrity weekend,” Paisley walked up beside me and linked arms as if we were old friends. “Neal over there is from Neal’s Wheel of Deals. You know the TV game show?”

“Actually it’s Greg,” the man called Neal said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Greg is my given name. I just use my middle name for the show.”  

“Now we’re seven,” Aspen said. “Let’s keep moving, townies. Don’t want you all the freeze to death before midnight.”

“She’s… interesting…” I noted.

“She’s focused,” Mathias said. “We want her to be. She’s our guide.”

“Our ticket outta here,” Spencer added.

When we arrived in a larger clearing, several tents dotted the leeward side of the mountain. Aspen and Mathias built a fire, and we all quickly gathered around for warmth. Jonny knelt in the snow, munching on a sandwich he pulled from his pocket. Aspen retrieved weiners and marshmallows from her tent while Mathias passed out water.

“Good to stay hydrated,” he smiled as he handed me a bottle.

“Thanks,” I replied graciously. “So what are you all doing up here?”

“Skiing. What else?” Spencer declared. “We’ve got a few days off for the holiday.”

“What do you do?” I inquired, starting to feel warmer as I cooked my hot dog.

Spencer replied, “I coach wrestling.”

“My friends dared me to come out here,” Paisley said as she threw another log on the fire. “Didn’t think I could handle it. Said I was too prissy.”

“You are prissy,” Jonny piped up.

“Oh shut up!” she snapped. “You freaked out when snow fell off a branch onto your shoulder earlier.”

“Yeah so… I don’t think we’ve met,” Jonny set down his stick and marshmallow and walked over to shake my hand. “I’m Jonny Vasquez.”

“I’m Brenda,” I replied. “Are you here to ski too?”

“Naw…” he shook his head and offered a toothy grin. “Just passing through. Got a gig with me band on Christmas Day. Band mates thought I was crazy for driving over the mountain. Maybe I am,” he shrugged. “Long drives is when the lyrics come to me.”

“And what about you?” I asked, looking up at Mathias.

“I do this every year. Get off grid for a few days,” he replied. “I’m a computer programmer by profession, but cubicles will be the death of me. It’s trips like these that remind me why I’m alive.”

“To freeze our arses off, eh?” Jonny smirked.

“Something like that,” Mathias chuckled, rubbing his beard thoughtfully. “Do you need anything Aspen?”

“I’m going to grab paper plates,” Aspen replied, walking toward her tent.

“Greg? You haven’t said anything yet,” I asked.

“Uh…it’s rather embarrassing,” he grinned sheepishly.

“Aw… come on, Greg, we already know all about it,” Paisley smirked.

“About what?” I frowned.

“I kinda had a meltdown on live TV last week,” Greg groaned. “My producer suggested I take a holiday to think about things. I don’t know if the network wants me back.”

“So you came up here?” I said, more as a statement than a question.

“Yeah,” he admitted. “The mountains seemed to be calling to me.”

Jonny offered to entertain us with some songs, fetching his guitar from a tent while we cooked our supper.

“You’re welcome to bunk with Paisley,” Aspen suggested.  

“Mine’s the big pink tent,” Paisley grinned. “Ooo…” she clapped her hands. “It’ll be fun to have a bunk mate. It’ll be like a sleepover.”

“It is a sleepover,” Spencer rolled his eyes.

One by one we all turned in. Jonny stayed behind to put out the fire, humming a little diddy as he climbed in the tent next to ours.

“Isn’t he cute?” Paisley grinned, propping her head.

“Who? Jonny?” Another man was the furthest thing from my mind.

Paisley nodded. “You never said why you were here.”

“Oh,” I gripped the edge of my pillow and bit my lip, grateful it was dark and Paisley couldn’t see my face. “I slid off the road.” It’s not the whole truth.

“Wow,” Paisley replied, shifting in her sleeping bag. “I’m glad you’re safe.”

“Me too,” I closed my eyes.

Daylight came sooner than I would’ve liked. The tent was insulated from the elements, but outside, fog hovered around the campsite. A bald eagle soared overhead. A good sign, I smiled.

“Let’s go,” Aspen yelled after we finished eating a quick breakfast of granola and dried fruit.

“We could’ve at least made a pot of coffee,” Paisley whined.

“You stop without telling someone. You die. Keep your eyes on the person in front of you. We’ve got one more to check on. Any questions?” Aspen hollered.

“Yeah, how come you slowpokes can’t keep up with me?” Jonny teased, starting an enthusiastic pace. 

“What are you looking for, Spencer?” Paisley inquired.

“I hoped I could see the valley where I’m from,” he shaded his eyes. “But you can’t see anything.”

“It is a winter wonderland,” I breathed.

“Or a death trap,” Spencer muttered.

“Do you have someone waiting for you?” Paisley asked.

“My wife and kids… I didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms with them though when I decided to take a solo vacation,” he added.

“Don’t worry, mate,” Jonny tried to reassure. “You’ll see them soon.”

It was nearly nightfall when we reached what appeared to be a dead end in the forest.  

“Now what?” Mathias asked.

“I sure got a rotten deal on this trip,” Greg moaned.

“This can’t be it,” Jonny said.

“If only the wind will stop blowing,” Spencer lifted his arms to shield his eyes.

“It’s so cold,” Paisley groaned.

“Who else are we trying to find?” I inquired.

“Townies, don’t worry,” Aspen remarked, pointing to a grove of mostly green vines and branches. “This cave leads to a hidden valley in the mountains with a helicopter landing pad and a Ranger tower. We can radio for help there. I know these woods like the back of my hand. Trust me.”

Mathias agreed first. “Okay, what choice do we have?”

“Ew!” Paisley squeaked. “There could be bugs or bats or bears even.”

“I’ll protect you, love,” Jonny moved closer.

“We can’t go back now,” Spencer shrugged. “I say forward. Greg?”

“Well,” Greg grimaced. “If you insist.”

“I trust your judgment,” I nodded to Aspen.

When we reached the other side, Aspen ran away from the group.

“Wait, where are you going?” Spencer called out.

“There’s a spot up ahead where we can build a fire and camp for the night. Look for the logs,” Aspen called over her shoulder.

“Wait… what?” Jonny started to follow their guide, but Mathias stopped him.

“Let her go,” Mathias replied. “I know where we are.”

“But…” Jonny protested.

“We’ll be okay,” Mathias said softly. “This way.”

“You crazy old coot!” Aspen approached an elderly man with gray hair and torn clothing staring out into the snow and fog. “Why don’t you have a jacket?”

“Aspen, is that you?” the man croaked, glancing over his shoulder.

“Yes Cecil, it’s me. Sheriff sent me on a welfare check,” she replied, irritated. “You’re out here without a coat or proper shoes…” she noted the holes in his tattered boots.

“You got townies with you?” he asked.

“Yes, we can get out in morning by helicopter assuming we can call out,” she replied.

“My radio still works,” Cecil sighed. “It’s good to see you Aspen.”

“Get inside and warm up. I’m going to go check on my townies,” Aspen ordered.

“Who is that?” I asked as I settled on the log bench.

“Cecil Beckett,” Mathias responded. “Aspen’s dad.”

“Really?” Greg said, incredulously. “He lives way out here in the National Forest?”

“Who’d wanna do that?” Jonny asked.

“Who’d want to get stuck with six strangers on Christmas Eve?” Paisley asked, scooting closer to him. “But here we are.”

“Some people love the seclusion,” Mathias surmised.

“You know Aspen pretty well, don’t you?” I surmised.

“There isn’t a better guide for this wilderness,” Mathias offered. “I’ve met her a few times. This is the first time I was snowed in by an avalanche.”

“I’m glad we’re in good hands,” I said.

“Sorry about the hot dogs,” Aspen said, rejoining the group. “Not much of a Christmas meal.”

“It’s not a problem,” I replied. “I happen to like char-cooked weenies.”

“Frankly, I only relish making them when I’m in a pickle,” Jonny teased.

Everyone laughed.

“Is your dad okay?” I asked.

Aspen blinked. “Mathias told you? Yeah. He will be. Sometimes he forgets his coat when he goes outside. He’s got a tiny one-room cabin up the hill a little more.”

“Did he want to join us?” Paisley asked.

“Naw, he’s fine,” Aspen said. “Sorry guys. It looks like our rescuers won’t be here until day after next. I radioed for help and couldn’t get anything sooner. We’ve got plenty of water and the tents, and Cecil offered us more food if we run out. Looks like we’re stuck here for Christmas.”

Suddenly, I realized I could provide an alternative. “Aspen? Do you mind taking me back to the radio? I think I have an idea.”

Christmas morning arrived.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Aspen stared up at the humongous pine tree. “Takes your breath away, this kind of morning, doesn’t it?”

“You really love it here?” Mathias observed.

“Of course, these mountains are my home,” Aspen smiled.

“Picture to commemorate the day?”

“Sure.”

“Happy Christmas, Aspen.”

He handed her his phone with their picture.

“This is going to be my new background,” she grinned. “Happy Christmas, Mathias.”

“Look what I found,” Paisley said, mischievously, holding up a sprig of mistletoe.

“Where’d you find that?” Jonny inquired. “Wait… why am I asking?”

“Oh kiss me, you big goof!” Paisley insisted.

“Katherine… it’s Spencer…before you say anything, I’m sorry…Where have I been?… I finally got reception…No, I’m okay… hey… it’s alright…and Katherine?… Tell our girls Merry Christmas!”

“I can’t believe how beautiful it is up here,” Greg murmured to himself as he gazed up at the crystal blue, not a cloud in the sky. “I feel… peaceful.”

I smiled as I inhaled the sharp mountain air. It felt good to help friends. They are my friends, aren’t they? As I watched the sun rise above the peaks, I knew. I’m going to be okay.

About midday, Cecil invited us to a winter picnic of chicken and corn. It was nice to have a hot meal for the first time in three days that wasn’t charcoal-coated. As we sat on the stone bench outside Cecil’s cabin and shared a meal, I felt gratitude.

“I’m grateful for Aspen our guide,” Mathias said, lifting his cup of hot cider.

“Hear hear,” Spencer clinked his cup with Paisley’s. “I’m grateful we didn’t freeze.”

Paisley beamed, and whispered to Jonny. “Should we tell them?”

“We’re a couple,” Jonny said, kissing Paisley’s cheek. “I’m grateful for Paisley.”

“And I’m thankful for Jonny,” she said.

“Aww…” Aspen smiled.

“I’m… uh… grateful for…I called my boss this morning and quit,” Greg said.

“Really?” came a chorus from Paisley, Jonny, and Spencer.

“Yeah,” Greg shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets. “The job wasn’t making me happy. I’m actually thinking of getting back to my artistic roots…photography maybe. These winter scenes are incredible. I got some good shots on my phone.”

“Hear hear,” Aspen repeated. “I’m grateful for my dad,” she smiled up at the man at the head of the table. “And for this meal with old friends…” she winked at Mathias. “And new!”

“And I’m grateful for all of you,” I swallowed hard, and stood up as I continued. “I started this weekend, depressed and devastated. My man left me at the altar two days ago…”

This brought a few gasps and sympathetic looks from the group.

I waved my hands. “It’s okay. We obviously weren’t right for each other. And I could’ve been home feeling sorry for myself, but instead I ran away to the mountains and found all you guys. And that’s…” I choked back the tears. “…a pretty amazing Christmas gift.”

“Hear hear!” Spencer raised his glass.

Paisley offered me a hug. “I’m really glad you are here.”

“Me too,” I smiled. “Happy Christmas everyone.”

We were interrupted by the sound of helicopter blades. Everyone looked bewildered.

“I thought we weren’t leaving until tomorrow,” Spencer frowned.

“Oh,” I laughed. “I called my editor.”

“What?” Paisley asked, confused.

“I’m Brenda Hart… the novelist…” I announced and wiped my mouth on the napkin.

“Oh my gosh!” Paisley pieced it together. “You’re that celebrity author!”

“Yeah, something like that,” I grinned. “We’re all going home tonight.”

We reached the town at the foot of the mountain by the early evening. Everyone was excited to be going home, but sad to leave their new friends. The weekend was a whirlwind we weren’t soon to forget. The lost Christmas was the perfect present.