Friday, February 27, 2009

My Best Friend

Peacar 2000
Let me tell you about my best friend, S'Ahmisa. She's great! Honestly, there's no one else in the hood that will play football with me and then hold hands and stare at the clouds. Mami and Papi tend to keep an close eye on us or send Rojo out to play with us, which he hates. He would rather be in his room working on his electronic keyboard and composing new songs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Education Note: PU and Vocational Training

Johan Dawson Shazad

As part of my duties with Pierce University, I visited the academic quad as it prepared for it's first class in simyears. I must admit, I am quite proud of everything. The Wilsonoff family commissioned the Wilsonoff School of Business, while the Herendez family donated to the Arts Building. Other donations include a piano from the Kents to the Fine Arts School and the Warwicks even donated simoleans for the fountain to be installed.
While the university is still taking shape and preparing for the first students, I am overseeing the Vocational Training classes in the hood. I am lining up guest lecturers to speak on thier dedicated talent. Antonio has agreed to give a talk about the basics of pottery and Jadhira has also agreed to speak concerning basic flower arrangement. These classes will help residents expand thier knowledge beyond the basic skills of cooking and cleaning. Also, this will give a way for those not interested in university to find out other ways to apply thier intelligence.

Fairly Warm

Peacar 2000 This winter has been fairly warm, no snow on the ground like last winter. I have grown out my hair and work with the hood council has been fine. With the return to the ancient SimLonic calendar we're debating changing the term of hood council members. There are not a lot of sims interested in the hood council, but who knows what the future holds...soon more sims might be interested. So we're sending out a survey to the residents to find out thier opinion on the issue and we're considering adding a poll to the website to see what other sims in other hoods think.

The hood council work is going well, a lot of new construction projects have started. Feedback with the new calendar has been fairable but I still need to keep my finger on the pulse of the hood.

Family life is going well, we finally adopted! A little girl named Serendipity and she is growing bigger everyday it seems. Meanwhile Antonio and I tend to find ourselves in the bedroom a lot more lately. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009


Resar 2000
So this month of harvast has resulted in us becoming pregnant. I'm not sure how I feel. Part of me is estatic, another baby! Another part of me is fearful! We have twins and who knows if we will have another set of twins considering that both Grex and I and my mother are twins. We don't have the space for another set of twins. We need to expand the farm just to accomadate the new family member(s) and that means taking out a loan...which in this economy is scary. Will we be able to make payments? Should we tap the equity of the farm and refinance? Should I begin looking for work outside the house or finding alternative ways to earn more money from our land. This is all so scary.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me???

That my pictures were crappy!

I was playing around with some of the ingame settings-since I hate printscreening and then cropping the images, no matter how crisp and large they look. When you have a full time teaching job (which is really a job and a half), husband, cat and social life, the time spent cropping each image adds up to a lot.

Anyhoo, I played around with the settings and now I can see lots of things! Paintings have details! There's a tweed jacket! Did you know sims had toes!!! TOES!!! I didn't!
With the new settings, it's like playing a brand new game! Can't wait to show off the new and improved photos!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Busy Season

Resar 2000
The harvest season is here and I've been busy gathering crops. The twins have been helping as much as they can by watering the plants and helping me bait the hook for our small pond. Ginger is pregnant again, so we are looking into renovating the farm and adding additional rooms. Part of me wants to give up this back breaking work and settle in a small house and get a 9-5 job like the other sims, but then...I know I will miss the smell of dirt under my fingernails.
Thankfully the twins still see this work as fun. Ginger found them some nice work clothes, so now they can help in the fields without fear of getting pretty clothes spoiled and dirty. The market is doing well. We still sell fresh produce and fish, floral arrangements and hand crafted potholders and quilts. With the flood of tourists coming to the island looking for that small town charm as they call it, our items have been leaving the shelves quickly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tales of the Young

Resar 2000My grandchildren seem to have particular insight. I overheard them at the table discussing how they would be the only grandchildren that Cassandra and I would see. I thought nothing of it until Ginger annouced that she was pregnant. Now I feel like my days are numbered. If the insight of the twins is correct, Cassandra and I only have moments before we leave forever...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recollecting Memories

Resar 2000 This return to the ancient calendar is a bit like my years in TS1. I still marvel at how I actually experience the TS1 dimension and am around today in the new dimension and there is talk of another dimension. I know that we will not be going to the new dimension, but it is nice to dream about the things there. Matthew and I are getting older and I know that soon our time will come, I would love to be able to take a trip with him before death comes a calling.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nothing Much is New

Havar 2000
The twins turned 5, thank goodness because two toddlers are the worst in taking care of! We gave away our beloved cats due to thier destructive nature. We could barely afford to keep replacing the furniture or items they continued to destroy. Work is going well, thankfully I still have a job, Johan has been promoted so to speak so we have a little more money coming in, but we still have to watch the simoleans carefully.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Harvesting Young Minds

Havar 2000What a busy month it's been. The new school opened to much fanfare. I am really close to hiring Jesse Kent for the position of primary teacher as student enrollment has increased exponentially. My twins have turned 5 as well as three other children in the neighborhood, making the kindergarten class five little sims. Two third graders, two junior high students and four high school students round out enrollment to 13 sims.

The new school has two buildings, primary and secondary. The primary building serves grades K-5 on the lower level and grades 6-8 on the upper level. There is a small cafeteria in thier building as well as a small playground. Next to it is the secondary building for grades 9-12.

The new school sits behind the administration buildings, so we see a lot of the hood council president stopping by. I have to give my report of the upcoming graduation ceremony for the two seniors as well as the happenings at Pierce University. Besides lectures to the students and a few hands on classes, I do not spend much time devoted to AVA, hopefully Jesse will eventually become the administrator.

Education in Apple Valley, Primary/Secondary

This is a little bit about how primary/secondary education work in Apple Valley.
Education in Apple Valley is very hands on. Currently, the education director owns the school. It is a community lot that stays closed. The director goes there whenever school is in session (he works in the education field as well, so right now we follow him to school M,W,F) and using Simlogical's Meeting Controller, calls the students and the other teacher to the school building.

The school day starts with the primary grades (K-5) working in a common room. They have to pass five skill exams with at least a one (have at least one skill point in five different skills, usually cleaning, cooking, mechanics, creativity and charisma). Since most of them come with the required skill points, they usually play and enjoy interacting with friends, drawing on the activity table or playing for recess. All students bring thier lunch from home (a single serving of a meal, usually lunch sandwiches, soups, or leftovers from dinner).

Junior high students work upstairs in thier room. They must pass seven skill exams with at least a one (at least one skill point in each skill). Any skill they are lacking they study on the computer, with lectures from the teacher (impart knowledge interaction) or interacting with different objects (painting for creativity, dancing for body, etc).

High school students must pass one skill exam with a score of six (six skill points in one skill), so most students chose an area to specialize in and then focus on building skills for that. Any skill they are lacking they study on the computer, with lectures from the teacher (impart knowledge interaction) or interacting with different objects (painting for creativity, dancing for body, etc). High school has two floors and a larger cafeteria with vending machines, for those who forgot thier lunch.

Grades and Skill Exams
Grades are assigned by rolls (11=A+, 10=A...3=C-, 2=D, 1=F), if a student doesn't pass a skill exam, then they fail by default. Students do not have to do homework, since there is no correlation to homework and grades. However, they are assigned projects thier last year of elementary/junior high/high school.

The skill exams are the bare minimum they need to pass to the next level. Of course, most high school students are going to try and have higher grades on thier skill exams in order to get into university (that's another post).

Classes and Field Trips
So what are the students doing if they're not working on skill points (since the requirements are so low) and are not doing assignments (like Simlogical's school hack). Well, they're exploring thier hobbies. Students take classes in different hobbies (painting, photography, pottery, etc) and even have field trips (the musuem for viewing art collections, the park for nature lessons and bird watching, etc).

I plan on having one of the play sessions being a field trip day, so that they can explore thier hobbies in more detail or get exposure. Some field trips planned include:

-Arts & Crafts: trip to the art musuem

-Film & Literature: Trip to the movies (an educational film of course), book discussions by local author

-Fitness: Trip to the park for a tai chi lesson or have a tai chi master come to the school for the lesson, trip to obstacle racing course for team building :P

-Music & Dance: Trip to the concert hall for behind the scenes of the dance company and orchestra

-Games: This is called recess :)

-Nature: Trip to the park for hiking, bird watching and bug collecting. Maybe even an overnight camping trip under the stars. Trip to the aquarium

-Cuisine: This is called lunch :)

-Science: Career Day at the medical center, trip to the observatory

-Sports: This is called recess :P

-Tinkering: Trip to the historical musuem

How does education work in your hood? Is it strictly MAXIS? MAXIS with a storytelling lot? Fully intergrated?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Remembering the Changes

Remar 2000
The usual updates-work is fine, my little girl has grown so much, finally she said "dada!" yea!!! This year has been hard for Jolie. She's without her mother for the first time and she's still depressed that we're not pregnant.

We've been trying, believe me, we've been trying. Every chance we got, but no such luck.

Jolie's been trying not to mourn the absence of another child and instead enjoy our daughter who tends to find herself in the backyard at all hours of the day. She wants to take up jogging with her father, so I, of course, will spoil her and allow her to jog with me on my next jog...granted that she's awake at that hour.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Remembering the Good

Remar 2000

This month started with a bang! Little Grace Elise turned 5! Wow, my baby is growing up! She looks like her grandmother. Since this is the month of rememberence, we made sure to share silly stories of my mom with Grace Elise and show her plenty of family photos.

I changed my hairstyle. I'm getting older and that was too much hair to take care of, so I cut most of it off. Jorge seems to like my new hairstyle as we've been having more intimate moments lately. Dancing in the dark, caresses as we pass each other. I would still like another baby, but it seems like nature doesn't intend for us to get pregnant again.

So I'm trying to focus on enjoying what I do have. A great husband, healthy little girl, job that I love and beautiful home.

Aging and Celebrations

So in celebration of my birthday, let's talk about aging and other celebrations in Apple Valley.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Man Behind the President

Patar 2000 Many sims wonder what it's like being the husband of a powerful hood council president. I suppose it's the same as being the husband of any woman. I support her projects, co-host events with her and make sure that the home life is comfortable and stress-free.

I no longer have my job with Blossom Salon as it closed down, so I'm taking the year off. Next year I plan on looking for work, though there isn't a rush. We have plenty of simoleans and Fiona's salary also takes care of the bills, but soon Bill will enter university and Veronika will start school and who knows...we might have another child.

I've been considering entering into the law field or even education. There's an opening at the school for a primary teacher. That sounds interesting...I'm not sure if I have the patience for it, but Fiona says that I would be perfect for the job. So I'll apply for the position, it's settled.

We never found a sim to answer our ad as a personal assistant, so we hired a butler. Thankfully he takes care of everything. Cleaning, light cooking, caring for Veronika, everything! He frees up a lot of time for me to keep in fit and help Fiona with her scheduling and duties. I guess behind every hood council president is a spouse helping them out.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The business of the president

Patar 2000 As hood council president, I am expected to host quite a few events. So I started this month with a small party for the current hood council, hood employees and key financial backers to the hood council. I was surprised to see the Sweeny's as they recently had triplets and does Li ever look good. I can not believe that she just had triplets! Thankfully I also regained my figure quite quickly after Veronika's birth, but Li just had triplets less than 3 months ago!

Speaking of Veronika, she recently celebrated her first birthday. Can you believe it! My little lady is growing up so quickly!

Another duty of the hood council president is to make appearences around the hood. Even though the nip of spring is still clinging to the summer air, I made my rounds and spoke to residents and tourists alike. There are more transient sims on the island now thanks to our tourism policy increasing and my tours to other hoods has increased the visablity of Apple Valley. More sims are interested in making Apple Valley thier home, or at least attending Pierce University.

Besides my duties as hood council president, I am still a wife and mother and early morning pancake breakfasts are still a tradition. Bill has been busy with studying for his skill exams and preparing for his final year, so we rarely see him at breakfast. Speaking of family, I have to write my brother, Fredic, a note. Soon he will be entering the new dimension-while Apple Valley will not. It will be a little harder to keep in contact, but at least we've seen each other as much as possible before that fateful day.
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