1.10 Company (ALOW)

Jenara found herself watching over the podlings for nearly an hour. Each one was different, reflective of its comrade in a way. One glowed purple, the shade of a plump dragonfruit, and she could sense the rare and generous spirit of this podling’s counterpart, Tara. Another glowed a bold red, reflective of the heated emotions of its counterpart,Vito. Garbanzo’s podling glowed a vibrant fuschia color, and Jenara blushed thinking of his kind and extravagant words.

Snapping out of her reverie, she headed inside, barely having time to put on a pot of coffee and set out her cakes before the arrival of her neighborhood guests. She didn’t even have time to change. Jasmine came shortly behind, bringing Tara with her. Jenara found herself feeling disappointed when Garbanzo didn’t make an appearance.

Tara cornered Jenara and thanked her once again for caring for the podlings, and relayed her happiness that the younger woman was so generous in allowing a stump on her lawn. Jenara told her it was nothing, and she was enjoying the education and the experience, plus she was happy to meet fellow PlantSims attending the conference, and help be apart of a worthy cause. Tara asked about the PlantSims Jenara had met, and apologized on behalf of her husband. She also made a quick comment about Gar, being quite the ladies man, despite his attachment to another certain PlantSim. Again, Jenara felt disappointed. Perhaps she had misread his intentions, and maybe he was just being nice, but from the way Tara portrayed the man, she had probably flirted with a married man. Talk about awkward.

Despite her completely embarrassing encounter with Don Baxter and the Waterside ladies, they still made an appearance at Jenara’s gathering. Don even brought a friend, J Huntington the III, a local technician, who had much to say about setting up the website of the PlantSim conference and managing a chat room for supernaturals and Sims alike to get to know one another and promote peaceful relations. He even offered to put in a good word at his workplace for her if she wanted a job. Jenara found him to be a bit self-absorbed, but she was happy to meet another fellow tech with an interest in geeky things. She even had the time to debate various Star Trek captains with him, though she wasn’t sure she could forgive him for liking Archer the best. Jenara decided to keep her “lame” comment to herself as that wouldn’t have been polite.

Don nodded to her in his casual “wassup” kind-of way as he passed by Jenara and Tara. He was carrying two plates, one with a slice of Jasmine’s banana chocolate chip bread and the other with a slice of cheescake from Jenara’s kitchen. He brought the desserts to his friend, J. As much as Jenara was enjoying learning about Tara’s PlantSimness, she found herself straining to listen to the two men on the couch.

“This house is cool,” Don was saying.

“Yeah, and it’s resident is pretty cool too,” J said, munching on the banana bread. “Do you think that Jenara chick is into me?”

“Dude, you think everyone is into you!” Don punched his friend in the arm.

“I can’t help it. I’m great,” J grinned much too smugly.

Jenara resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou


1.9 Petit Chou (ALOW)

After dinner, Jenara decided to go for a jog to clear her head. She had collected many thoughts over the past few days and her list of projects just kept growing. Gardening. Eco-friendly practices. Recycling. Living conscientiously. Renovating her yard. Taking care of her parents’ home. She had barely time to process even deeper things lurking int he background like the PlantSims and their podlings, her ex-boyfriend, and the loss of her great aunt.

Stepping outside, she was about to jog down her street when she noticed a PlantSim man standing next to her stump. Feeling overly-protective, she strode across her lawn and asked what he was doing when she noticed he appeared to be meditating over the podlings.

“I was saying a prayer for their well-being, petit chou,” he said softly.

“A prayer?” she frowned, wondering if it was anything like her thanks for her strawberries.

“Yes, a familiar chant among my people. Please join me,” he offered his hand in invitation. “I must thank you for caring for these podlings. Many do not have your courage.”

“I don’t know if I am that brave,” Jenara shrugged.

“Yes, you are, I can tell you have strength of heart. Us PlantSims can sense these things. It is in our nature, no pun intended,” he smiled broadly. “You are very brave.”

She smiled shyly. “Thank you,” she felt flattered.

“I suppose I should introduce myself since I am in your yard,” he replied. “I am Garbanzo, but my friends call me Gar, and I am eternally grateful to you…” he tipped his hat. “…for your caring and kind spirit.”

She flushed, feeling flattered. “Thank you, again. ”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, petit chou,” he reached for and kissed her hand before she could stop him.

“Oh my!” she giggled, and quickly pulled her hand back.

The sensation left her skin tingling with pleasure. The attentions were nice, but it was much too soon, even if the man was handsome.

“Um… what was the prayer you were saying?” she inquired.

“Oh just a few phrases we all learned as podettes, but I have something else you might like to hear, hmm?” Gar asked.

She nodded enthusiastically.

It is the whistle of the wind,” he said, followed by a whistle. “...the wind which guides our feet to safety. And the song of the bird… which serenades and fills our minds with hope. And the whirr of the bumblebee…which pollinates the flowers to enable life to continue. And the hum of the dragonfly… who is carried on a breeze and smiles down on nature.”

“Wow,” Jenara gasped. “That is beautiful.”

Gar continued. “It is the howl of the lone wolf at night, crying out for the company of his companions. We are not alone. It is the caw of the crow… seeking the food which others leave behind. It is the prattle of the peacock… attracting the attention of its mate…

Something about the way he said mate made Jenara blush.

“...it is the dance of the grass… the blades flapping in the breeze as the sun caresses their cheeks and brings warmth to their souls. It is the coming of twilight… the light fades and we close our shells to the sun and open our hearts to the stars.”

“Oh my,” she breathed.

“Do you like it, petit chou?” he inquired.

“Like it? I love it!” she gushed.

“I wrote it myself,” he admitted.

“What? Really? That is incredible. You are quite talented.”

“Thank you, petit chou.”

She wrinkled her nose. “What does that mean? You keep calling me that… petit chou…”

“Ah,” Gar pressed his hands together. “It is Championne for ‘little cabbage.’ We PlantSims like to use plants for terms of endearment. I hope you do not mind, little one. It is a compliment of the highest order. I do not know your name.”

“Oh,” she flushed. “I am Jenara.”

“… Merveilleux!” he exclaimed. “What a beautiful name! Like the month, January.”

“Yes,” she smiled. “Like the month.”

“Oh then that explains your connection to these podlings. To be named for a passage of time is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“I didn’t know,” she replied. “I guess I never thought of it that way.”

“I shall leave you a podling, oui?” Gar said, making sweeping gestures with his arms. “You are a lovely person for caring for such delicate and innocent creatures.”

Jenara flushed, pleased. This was too much. All the compliments. She appreciated them, but was beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Au Revoir, petit chou!” Gar said, kissing her hands again, before backing away and continuing down the street.

Jenara lifted her hands to her chest, feeling overwhelmed with emotions. “Au revoir,” she repeated softly.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.8 Gifts

Next Chapter: 1.10 Company

1.8 Gifts (ALOW)

After a productive afternoon at the store, Jenara returned home and breathed a sigh of relief, that the PlantSim stump was still in her yard, appearing in tact. She was a bit concerned after all the things Vito had said, and some of the things Jasmine had told her, about people creating problems for the PlantSims and the danger many podlings faced. She hoped it would do her some good to house the podlings outside her home, though she would’ve felt better if Jasmine had placed the stump in her back yard instead of her front.

Heading downtown, she had purchased supplies to build protective fencing around the podling stump, and rocks for her walkway, and fresh flowers and plants for her new flower beds, that she could build herself with the wood she purchased. She also made a trip to the grocery store to buy plenty of food in case she had more neighbors or PlantSims stop by, and stepped into the bookstore, but was unable to find digital copies of the books she wanted. The store owner suggested she visit their website, which she did immediately on her tablet and selected a book about Gardening 101, The Prologue to Prejudice, PlantSim and Sim Relations, and the History of PlantSims. She figured tonight she would have plenty of reading for beneath the covers.

Jenara wandered into her kitchen to stock her refrigerator. Jasmine Holiday had called while she was out and asked if she was willing to host an informal PlantSim and Sim neighborhood gathering for a talk, and of course, she agreed. Jenara was the first to admit she was relatively clueless. Perhaps getting together her neighbors would help mend fences and build bridges. Just in case, Jenara picked up a carrot cake with vanilla bean frosting, a chocolate caramel cheesecake, a gluten free alternative Deutchsim chocolate cupcakes, and a friendly favorite freezer bunny pops in case any kids stopped by. She wanted to have all her bases covered. She wasn’t sure what to serve at a neighborhood gathering.

Her stomach rumbled. Jenara opted for a bowl of raspberry yogurt and some fresh strawberries, sprinkling a little granola on top for a finishing touch. Her light evening meal was looking delicious as she carried it into the dining room. She was pretty pleased with the wide variety of fruit available at the market and how fresh everything looked – bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, mangoes, red grapes, and even lemons. She could easily make plenty of yummy snacks with her fruit bowl, or even jazz up a meal like she was doing now.

About to lift her spoon, Jenara realized that strawberries were a plant of sorts… just like all the fruit in the bowl before her. She recalled the words of the PlantSim man named Vito.

Those were my friends… my comrades…” he had said.

Can I really eat this now? she wondered, laughing awkwardly to herself.

Pulling out her phone, she pushed through the device until she found the e-book about PlantSim and Sim Relations. She clicked until she found an applicable passage.

Many Sims feel uncomfortable eating plants after becoming friends with a Plant Sim. It is only natural to feel this way. It is important to keep in mind while all plants, flowers, and trees are living, they are not all sentient. We, the authors of this book, want to help you understand the conundrum of trying to decipher who is and isn’t sentient. The important thing is to keep an open mind and to recognize the life energy in all things and beings. The fruit and vegetables of this world were given to provide you, a Sim, with sustenance, just as the sun provides food for a PlantSim. We recognize and accept the gifts of this world, and also respect the thing which gives us energy and life. We eat with conscientious freedom just as we would eat a cow steak or a lamb stew, as we remember our needs are important too and offer thanksgiving for each meal.

“Recognize and respect the thing which gives us energy and life?” Jenara repeated aloud.

She liked that. Thinking for a moment, she closed her eyes and bowed her head as a sign of reverence and said a few words in gratitude for the “gifts” she was about to receive. Sliding the spoon into her mouth, she savored the first creamy bite and then bit into the juicy strawberry.

The universe certainly grants good gifts, she thought.

“Thank you,” she smiled.

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

Next Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.7 Stumped (ALOW)

As promised, a stump appeared in Jenara’s yard the same day. She wondered about the safety of such a thing right out in the open, but Jasmine Holiday, the PlantSim-Sim liaison assured her that once the pods were placed in their holes, they were sealed in place and no one could mess with them. Even so, she made a note to pick up fencing at the hardware store, and maybe even a heat lamp. She didn’t want the little podling to get cold, especially if she found more friends.

As if on cue, Jenara noticed another green-skinned PlantSim man wandering down her street. She approached, feeling enthusiastic about my new mission.

“Hi, I’m Jenara, what’s your name?” she waved.

“Vito. Not interested,” he replied gruffly, and attempted to keep walking.

“What do you mean not interested?” Jenara frowned. “You don’t like friends.”

“I don’t need ’em,” he replied. “And I don’t want to buy what you’re selling, girlie,” he snipped.

“What? I’m not selling anything!” Jenara protested.

“Are you sure? The last guy tried to sell me an anti-fungal cream. Can you believe that?” the man said annoyed. “As a PlantSim, we embrace all of life, even fungi. And I’d be happy to have fungi cohabitate with me. We’re all about symbiosis. An anti-fungal cream is an insult.”

“I see,” Jenara remarked.

“And the guy before that tried to sell me a subscription to the Money Market Lane Journal,” the man threw his hands up in the air. “Think about how many trees were killed just to make the paper for that ridiculous newspaper!”

“I never thought of that,” Jenara replied, making a mental note to cancel any paper magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

“Those were my friends,” he said dramatically. “My comrades… killed! So you people could read your news when you could just as easily read it online and save the planet!”

“I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything, and I’m not trying to kill your comrades…” Jenara explained. At least not deliberately, she thought worriedly. “And I’m just trying to get to know PlantSims in town for the conference. I met Tara earlier.”

“Tara? My wife!? What? Have you seen her?”

“Tara’s your wife?”

“Yes, she went out wandering and we were supposed to go jogging together, and I haven’t been able to find her,” he exclaimed worriedly.

“Oh, well, she went that way…” Jenara pointed. “…a few hours ago, after she gave me a pod.”

“What? Wait… she gave you a podling?” the man’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed. “I can’t believe it. We said we’d plant our podlings together. Why would she do it without me?”

He pounded his fist into his hand.

“I have a stump in my yard,” Jenara pointed back. “I’d be happy to keep your pod safe too.”

“Look, girlie, I don’t know you and frankly I don’t trust Sims. I don’t trust anyone. And God knows what you’d do with it. This whole podling babysitting initiative is stupid and a waste of time. We can take care of our own, and you can take care of yours. We don’t need to be comingling. We don’t need this. We don’t need this at all.”

He had now raised his voice to the point of yelling. Jenara took a step back in surprise.

“I’m sorry if I upset you…” she stammered.

He pushed past her, and stomped into her yard. “Is this your house?” he asked angrily.

She nodded.

“I suppose this will have to do since we have to keep ours together,” he reached into his pocket, pulling out a red podling and slamming it into a space next to his wife’s podling. “Are you happy now, girlie?”

“It’s Jenara,” she replied, feeling uncomfortable.

“I don’t care what your name is. Just take care of my wife’s and my podlings or I’ll sue you for everything you’ve got right down to that sweet little track suit right off your back,” he snapped.

Jenara flushed as she watched the PlantSim man stomp away. She could’ve sworn she saw steam blowing out his ears. She felt hurt as she had always thought of herself as a caring, nonprejudicial person, but he treated her as if she didn’t have a clue. And she was stumped as to how she made him so angry.

I titled this chapter “Stumped” which is pretty lighthearted given the heavy underlying topic. Please know my intent is not to make fun of PlantSims or anyone for that matter. Prejudice (racism, classism, sexism, ableism) is alive and well in the world, sadly. I don’t really want to dip into a heavy discussion here, but I like the ability of the Sims to talk about real world issues in a nontraditional way. I’ve already set up tensions between the supernaturals and traditional Sims and aliens in my other Sims stories because it is such a multifaceted topic close to my heart, and it’s so important that we talk about things and open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the things around us. I also hope that if anything, we can start gentle, healthy, constructive dialogues about our differences in hopes of making our world a better, more caring place. 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.6 Plant Life 

Next Chapter: 1.8 Gifts 

1.6 Plant Life (ALOW)

Changing into gym clothes, Jenara decided to do some push-ups in the front yard. She figured it would give her a chance to work out her body while thinking about how she would like to landscape. She thought about some pretty rocks and a stone walkway and some lighting. She envisioned flowers blooming and bees buzzing about. Maybe she could make her own honey too. Perhaps she would take a trip to the garden center later today, if it was still downtown.

“Yoohoo!” a voice called out.

Jenara stood up and dusted off her hands as a lovely woman with braids approached.

“Hello,” she greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jasmine Holiday, and I am the official liaison between the Sims and the PlantSims in town for the photosynthesis conference,” the woman explained.

“Oh yes! I was just talking to Tara,” Jenara exclaimed. “I think it’s exciting. A liaison? What is it that you do?”

“I maintain friendly relations between the parties and coordinate their accommodations and help spread the word,” Jasmine replied. “I just saw Tara on the street and she said you’d be interested in attending.”

“Yes, but I…” Jenara laughed awkwardly. “I’m afraid I don’t know what it is that I’d be attending or doing. Maybe you can tell me.”

“Absolutely. We have guest speakers from all over the world come and speak about PlantSims, explain who and what they are, and share about their unique culture, all in an effort to build friendlier supernatural relations,” Jasmine explained. “We’re also giving Sims a chance to experience what it is like to be a PlantSim through interactive and immersive displays and events. We’d love for you to come listen to a talk, or try out our exhibits, and also invite your friends and family too.”

“Well… I don’t exactly have family, and I’m pretty new in town still,” Jenara said, adjusting her glasses. “But I am interested.”

“Also we’re looking for host families, people who can care for podlings,” Jasmine continued.

“Podlings? You mean baby PlantSims?” Jenara’s eyes widened as she realized just what Tara had left with her.

“Yes, they could grow up to be PlantSims, and they currently have an endangered status because people are not aware of these lovely living creatures when they walk around in nature. Many are crushed underfoot, or swept away by rivers because they nest or plant too close. Some are specifically targeted by hate groups. It’s really rather sad,” Jasmine explained.

“Oh that’s terrible!” Jenara explained. “Actually, Tara already gave me a pod, but I thought it was just a little piece of her…” she realized how dumb that sounded, given this was a podling. “…I mean… I didn’t realize…”

“It’s okay,” Jasmine shook her head. “Many people don’t. Wow… Tara gave you a podling? Just like that?” Her eyes grew wide.


“She must have gotten a good vibe from you. That’s quite an honor.”

“I guess, I kinda wish she had said something… so I could be prepared and all…”

“Don’t worry. I’ll send you some brochures and you can download a pamphlet about care of podlings from our website. In the meantime, I’ll get you a resting place for your pod, and any others that we send your way,” Jasmine said. “I have the stumps in my truck bed.”

“Okay,” Jenara replied.

Already she was confused and overwhelmed, but the project sounded interesting, and protecting life was a high and noble cause. She was happy to lend a hand, even if she knew nothing about plants or gardening.

And the PlantSim challenge continues… in story form. Some of these ideas, the podlings in particular, was an idea of mine for a TS3 PlantSim story I had, and I just never got around to writing. It works for this scenario so I’m keeping it in. Plus I was excited to see Jasmine Holiday wandering around the Springs. Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.5 Pod 

Next Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

1.5 Pod (ALOW)

Jenara chose to take a long nap in the guest bedroom. She had hoped to sleep off her complete and utter humiliation in front of Don Baxter and Sarah Waterside. However, when she awakened, she still felt embarrassed.

Llamas, she cursed beneath her breath. I can never show my face again in this town. 

Shifting beneath the floral comforter, Jenara flopped her legs atop the bed. The room was sparsely furnished, given it was the guest quarters. Her great auntie used to stay in this room when she visited. Jenara didn’t feel comfortable claiming her parents master suite. It somehow didn’t feel right even though they had been gone over a decade. She also didn’t want to sleep in the cutesy children’s play room.

Those days are past me. 

A memory flitted like a butterfly around in her head. A scared little girl. A nightmare. A monster under the bed. Daddy checking to make sure things were okay while the little girl climbed in her parent’s bed and hugged her mommy. Daddy returning to find mommy and the little girl asleep in each other’s arms. In the morning, they would awaken to find him sleeping in his daughter’s little bed, a poor night’s sleep causing the tall man obvious cramps.

That was Pops. 

Jenara smiled. She loved her father… or what she remembered of him. She loved her mother too. The whole thing felt strange being back in this house, almost as if it were their home and not hers. She wondered if their spirits still possessed its walls, and if they were watching over her.

Still fully clothed, she slipped off the bed and decided to look out the window, trying to ascertain the time. She had a good view of the square across the street. In the crosswalk, a pigtailed teenage girl dressed in black gave a snobbish look to a green-looking woman. Jenara gasped, wondering if the lady were an alien, and then realized, on the contrary, the woman was a supernatural – a PlantSim. Jenara pulled on her shoes and stepped outside just in time to hear the PlantSim lady say hello to “Miss Sandra Roth.”

The girl continued along her way, refusing to acknowledge the green-skinned, leaf-haired woman. Jenara felt an inexplicable sadness.

Prejudice alive and well. 

PlantSims were rare on Simterra, a supernatural race, a strange mix of genetics and plant biology. Jenara had heard many rumors about the green-skinned people, often mistaken for Xenosi, the dreaded aliens from the planet Xenosa. The Xenosi were most likely responsible for the supernaturals on Simterra, though no one liked to admit it. Jenara remembered hearing her father, a researcher, talking about mutations all those years ago when he didn’t think she was listening. She had caught rumblings and whisperings of experiments in Oasis Landing, the secret SimNation government city. Only those who worked there or those who had really good connections or deep pockets, or both, could enter the Oasis Landing. Jenara wondered if this woman on her street had come from there.

“Hello,” she called out.

The woman looked surprised to be greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jenara. What’s yours?”

“Tara… it’s nice to meet you Jenara. I don’t often get common courtesy from people,” she glanced over her shoulder at the teenager walking away.

“I’m sorry. I’ve just never seen a PlantSim before. I hope you don’t mind. I think you’re beautiful,” Jenara gushed.

“No, not at all. In fact, I welcome your questions… if you have any,” Tara smiled as she was practically glowing.

“Where are you from?” Jenara inquired.

“Here… there… where are we all from? The universe grants us existence, and we live for a short time and then move along,” she replied cryptically.

“I guess,” Jenara shrugged. “Did you move to the neighborhood?”

“No, a few of us are here for a photosynthesis conference, and then we’ll be moving on. We’re only here for a few days,” Tara replied.

“A photosynthesis conference?” Jenara repeated. “Wow. That’s cool. What do you do?”

“We open our arms to the sun and drink in its delights as we discuss the future, sustainability, keeping our planet green, and the like.”

“Sounds important.”

“It is. You know if you’d like to stop by Miss Jenara, I’d be happy to get you a pass. We could use more open-minded Sims attending to better understand who we are and what we hope to accomplish.”

“Really? You’d do that.”

“Absolutely. If you’re interested.”

“Yes please.”

“In the meantime, keep your eyes open to the light, and keep your ears tuned to the earth to hear the songs of the universe, and allow the center of your mind to be touched with the goodness of the world all around us,” Tara wished.

“Wow, that was beautiful,” Jenara remarked. “Thank you,” she bowed her head. “I wish you the same, but I can’t think up any poetic words.”

“The poetry is in your heart,” Tara answered. “You need only to listen.”

Jenara felt like saying something like “Namaste,” but figured that probably wasn’t the correct response. Instead, she merely said “thank you” again.

“In case I do not see you at the conference, I will give you one of my pods to remember me by.”

“A pod?”

“A piece of me. You can think of it as a PlantSim’s calling card of sorts. You walk in the woods and you find a pretty flower. You may pluck it. If you roll your pant legs and step into the river in your bare feet and you see a shiny rock, you might pick it up. A pod is a piece of us. It is a piece of the universe. It is our way of saying we are here, and you have noticed. It is a token of our deepest appreciation.”

Jenara fingered the beautiful purple pod the PlantSim woman placed in her palm. “Thank you. This is so generous of you. I am honored.”

“The honor is mine, Miss Jenara. Until we meet again.”

“Until we meet again,” she repeated, waving after her new mysterious friend.

Author Note: For fun, I’m including the “PlantSim” challenge in the storyline. Hopefully I can gain all 6 pods in time. We’ll see. Even so, I thought it’d be interesting to include this in the story. I’m glad Jenara crossed paths with Tara Varela.

Oh and Sandra Roth is the TS4 version of Cassandra Goth, since I’m renaming crossover characters, and Cassandra already appears in The Kassiopeia Fullbright Mystery Series, as does the rest of her family. Sandra Roth is based on the TS2 Roth family. I’m going to guess the “Roth” family is on vacation in Oasis Springs. Hope you enjoyed.

Previous Chapter: 1.4 New Neighbors 

Next Chapter: 1.6 Plants Life