Christmas 🎄 Traditionally Speaking

Midnight Mass? Check

Lots of yummy food? Check

Happiest of Happy’s? Check

What about Decor? What of fun unique traditions? ***see below***

Peppermint Mochas & Hot Cocoa

Furniture Rearranged for guests & tree 🌲
Three Wise Dudes
Stockings hung by chimney
Quirky Party Game—involves Princess Peppermint
Heirloom Decor positioned—Just So
One tired puppy 🐶
Best Extended Party Game Ever 😎

The Official Rules Set Forth
Last year vs. Current year
Black Friday Spots Scoped Out Prior to Turkey Day 🦃 🎁

Tree 🌲 Up —- 1st Present 🎁
Holiday Letter Writing ✍️ Campaign Supplies 😉 😎 😊

The Eyes Have It…

Another successful procedure. That is what the Doctor had said. But Anna knew that wasn’t true. There had been a glitch. A moment when the power surged. The instruments should have spiked, recording the incident, but it was too brief for even the machines to detect. But Anna knew.
Her recovery that afternoon went just as the Doctor’s staff said it would. With sedatives in full effect by the time they’d driven home, she’d slept hard. Only waking to take her next dose of meds, she could barely open her eyes enough to sip the water her husband offered. As evening approached she began to stir. She could hear her children quarreling quietly in the next room, trying hard not to wake her, but emphatically decrying some injustice done to them by the other. Then her husband’s soft yet stern whispers for them to “knock it off, or else” brought a smile to her face. He wasn’t exactly the most stern of the two of them, but she had to give him credit for trying. It was time for her to move from the cocoon of the bedroom and make an appearance. Having worn glasses since she was a child she was giddy at the thought of seeing life without either contacts or glasses! Or perhaps that giddy feeling was still the sedative wearing off, she thought.
Slowly she made her way to the dresser to take a look at herself in the mirror that hung above. The oversized sleeping goggles the Eye Center had sent home did a great job of protecting her peepers while she’d slept, but left plenty to be desired in the world of modern eye fashion. Just as she turned from her sleepy-eyed reflection, she saw it; a shimmering haze outlined her body. She blinked cautiously a few times, not wanting to upset the fresh stitches on her eyes, but the outline remained.
Surely this is part of the recovery process, she thought, and stepped away from the mirror. Hadn’t she read something in all the paperwork she’d signed about possible floating, sparkling specks clouding her vision temporarily? No reason a shimmering haze surrounding you should be of any concern, right? Besides, she thought, it’s probably time for another dose of something or other, and I’m also starving. Food should do the trick…

Hare Trigger! No…Hair Tigger 🐇 🏃‍♀️ 🔫🧩🎯💇‍♀️🐯

Word…words

Letter…letters

Number…No.

Won…one

What are we 2? To, roo, twoDo (did) when even the written, rite, right//Wrote wording no more, know matter?! No longer makes sense, cents, to either party:group: grope…

Bach…back woods, backward—back2skool—backlashh…shhh.

The phone, she is a ringingly, ringtone, No Messages left…

They call & call, but never intended to ever get ahold of Yzozu—YOU

(Even auto-tune,?” Can no longer autocorrect you now).

WELCOME to:

Level Playing Ground or as we call it:

The Neighborhood Playground

It’s

A

Beautiful

Day

In

The

Neighborhood

…and a beautiful day for a neighbor.

Mr.?@ the real T

♠️♥️♣️♦️🃏

Winner Takes All

🧮 💻 📲 ☎️

☢️🚹🚺🚼☑️

Please—Won’t you please— be Our Neighbor?

⚔️🪓⚰️🚬🧨⚖️💰💎🎚⏰📼💾🕹🗜🏕

Shhh 🤫

So much is done in Silence

Not a peep, nor echo to be found

So much accomplished in silence

Can you, do you, will you

Know where to be found?

If all the noise is brought to an end

Can you, will you be able to begin?

Or MUST you have the rage, the cage

The banging, clanging, monotonous

Never ending chimes, bells, whistles

Blowing, all knowing, screaming

At you, near you, all around you

Until you’re forced to find solace

A place you alone know where to hide?

So what will it be?

The sound or the silence…

Makes no difference to me.

Jake and Mack–Chapter One–It Starts

Jake was bored.

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

He had defeated all the bosses on all of his games; twice. He had gotten halfway through one of his summer reading books before tossing it off the bed and losing it in the heaping piles of junk on the floor of the bedroom he had to share with his little brother, Mack. And now his mother was insisting they either find a way to entertain themselves without arguing with one another, or clean their room.

So, yup.

Jake was bored…

At first, the idea of spending the summer at an old family cottage in the country with his parents, little brother, and their brand new puppy, Ding-Dong, had sounded like a great idea. At twelve he was still young enough to enjoy his parent’s company and lame attempts at humor, but old enough that he could take care of himself and his ten year old brother, if needed, without them hanging around barking instructions like well meaning but annoying drill sergeants.

And since Mack was pretty good at keeping himself out of trouble, Jake figured he’d be left with plenty of time to do whatever he wanted. Yup, it had sounded like a great idea at the time. That is until they had unpacked and he had asked his mom for the wi-fi password.

“What do you mean: No Internet?” Jake had fumed. “I’m not sure those words can even be used together in the same sentence on summer break!”
“We’re in the country Jake.” His father had reminded him, “No satellite, no cable, and no internet. And guess what? You’ll survive without it!” His dad had wrapped his arm around Jake’s shoulder and given him a tight squeeze, “More time for cards, puzzles and family board games!”
“Yay for board games!” Mack had chimed in, with a smile and a nod to his father.
“C’mon Jakie,” his mother had said and planted a kiss on his cheek, which he promptly wiped off so as not to look like he was giving in on the matter.

“It won’t be that bad. Besides,” she’d continued, “I remembered to pack plenty of video games that don’t use internet so you both can still stare at the screen, for like, 20 hours every day just like last summer.”

Then she had crossed her eyes and stuck her tongue out at him to emphasize her point. A gesture which always made him smile whether he wanted to or not. But right now remembering their first day at the cottage only made Jake more irritable and restless to get back to the city.

He reached down to pick up Ding-Dong, the stray puppy they had found at the city pound who was busy gnawing on a dog toy for a change instead of Jake’s shoe, and set her on the bed rubbing her belly while she tried to nip at his hand. Ding-Dong was a mix of who knows what and was basically so ugly she was cute. Jake was pretty sure Ding-Dong was part Yorkie, part Chihuahua, and part beaver? Or maybe rabbit?

Whatever she was, she liked to tear things up and being out in the country, while good for their apartment back home, did nothing to change that fact here at the cottage. Jake was beyond annoyed at the loss of his socks, underwear and the giant hole in his favorite blanket. That last one about did him in, but luckily his ever resourceful mother had mended it enough to get by and had told him that at least now the old blanket had character and a great back story to tell the other linens on laundry day.
Where she came up with crazy ideas like that Jake couldn’t guess, but he did know they helped diffuse his anger at those times. Unfortunately, lately he felt like he was getting angry all the time and he hated that the slightest thing seemed to set him off. Worse still, he hated the weird way his body had started reacting when his temper got the best of him; scared him actually, if he was honest with himself.

Waves of heat would cascade from his head down through his stomach. His heart would race and thud so loudly it would drown out any other sounds, and he felt his hands get so hot that he would ball them into fists thinking it would keep them from shooting fire from his fingertips, which as crazy as it sounded, is the only way he could think of to describe it.

Not that he would ever tell anyone, least of all his parents, any of that. His parents would never understand it because they weren’t like that. They were always loving and kind, even when he and his brother were in trouble and had to face the consequences of their actions.

Sure, his parents raised their voices and sent them to their rooms and all that, but this red hot rage that now came over Jake when he got angry? No. They’d never understand that and he was sure they’d send him off to some crazy doctor guy to run tests to figure out why a kid who had such a great life was feeling the way he was. Or, maybe, he thought, they’d just send him away and have him locked up so he wouldn’t hurt anyone…maybe that was the only thing that could be done for him…
Ding-Dong had grown tired of trying to eat Jake’s fingers and had fallen asleep on her back instead. Jake looked at her sleeping and thought, why can’t you just be good all the time instead of tearing everything up? Jake sighed and sat on the edge of his bed. “Puppy problems,” he muttered quietly to himself and went downstairs to grab a snack and see what Mack was up to.


Mack had spent the morning helping their dad work on an old car they had found in the shed behind the cottage. Although there really wasn’t much they could do with it since there weren’t many tools in the shed and their father, while a successful small business owner, was in no way a mechanic.

Jake found the two of them sitting under a shade tree near the shed and tossed his brother the extra apple he had grabbed from the kitchen on his way out the back door.

“What are you two doing?” Jake asked his dad. “Give up already on that hunk of junk in there?”

“For now,” said his dad closing his eyes and putting his hands behind his head and leaning back against the tree. “Honestly, I think that thing has been in there since I was as old as you two.”