New Years Fireworks!

Related imageRelated image


As we haven’t arrived at midnight and have 8 hours to go, I shall happily send pictures from countries that have already enjoyed the coming of the new year and many fireworks, which I adore so much.  I hope you do too!   Happy New Year Everyone!


Related image



Related image
Related image



Related image


Related image



Related image
Related image

Related image


Related image



Phyllis and  family to you and yours.





Related image

As the new year approaches, the countdown is on

May you be filled with cheerful lighthearted song

Your bucket list, whether it be short or long

Become filled, as you prevail, happy and strong

Overcoming life’s obstacles, lighthearted remain

May your confidence overflow, bubble like champagne

Full of hopeful optimism and cheer

Guiding you onward, throughout the year

Being optimistic and positive will help diminish

Obstacles and hurdles, to get to the finish

As upward and onward, we continually strive

To grow as humans, understanding derive

Though the journey of life, both arduous and sweet

Lessons learned, some powerful, some bittersweet

Growing and changing and constantly aspire

Becoming someone we personally admire







“Mope, mope, mope.  Stop moping about!  You are driving me crazy!” Pearl cried.

“I’m not moping!” Jane replied feeling quite miffed.

“You are!  What else would you call this?” Pearl gestured wildly.  “You’re broody, sulky, dragging around the room listlessly staring out the window or picking pencils up and dropping them endlessly always with that huge OMG sigh!  I’d say that’s moping!”

“I’ve never moped, not ever, not once!” Pearl was beyond exasperated at the suggestion, she was affronted and offended.

Pearl wrapped her arms around her and dragged her to a mirror.  “See that expression?  That’s mope!  Huge mope, over the moon mope!”

“Ok, so perhaps it is a little bit of a mope.”

“Little bit? OMG!”  Pearl’s eyes rolled.  “You ‘mope’ better than anyone I’ve ever met!”

“So, ”

“Do something!  Get up, get dressed and challenge that creep.  Show him who the winner is.  Prove it’s you.  Don’t give in without a fight, dragging around like an old rag doll that you aren’t!  You know you can win the challenge hands down.  You’re one of the best singers in the competition (such as it is).”

“What do you mean such as it is?”

“You don’t have any competition!  There isn’t a single person that can hold a candle to you.  You’re it!  You’ve got it in the bag, you’ve won!  You just let that jerk get to  you for some reason.”

“Dickson said I was a washed up has-been who never got started and I should be singing karaoke on karaoke night!”

“What else would you expect him to say?  For one, he’s a whiner, a  whiner of the first order, a grade A loser backing a losing singer.  Think he would sing the praises of the best singer in the high school competition?  Not likely!”

“Aaaand, not to mention, he’s always good at honing in on other people’s weaknesses.  Guess he’s figured out yours.  You don’t realize you’re great.  I don’t get that, buut, that is what’s going on.”

“Ya know, I didn’t realize I had doubts about myself.  I’ve always loved singing, thought I was pretty good and sang for fun, mostly.  This is the first time I’ve thought of entering any competition.”

“See, it’s nerves, you’re feeling edgy.  You are going to be great!”  Seeing that ear to ear grin she persisted, “Now, go, choose your song, and sing your heart out!”

“You’re right, thanks for the kick in the butt Pearl.”

“Hey, what’re friends for?”  She hugged her before pushing her out the door.







Related image

Profoundly refreshed and whole

Renewal affects body and soul.

Cleaning of all the old and tired

A process honoured and admired.

Feelings of relaxation and freedom

A blending of healing through the season.

Culminating in a renewed spirit

Deserving of thanks and great merit.

Understood by others who search

Hoping they too will emerge

Ready, prepared, lifted and wise

Nothing for which to apologise

Soul searching seeking now complete

Emerging  changed, from their retreat















Nathan 111

It worked.  Everyone settled comfortably into the oversized and very comfortable chairs that relaxed into nearly a supine position and relaxing in to watch Miracle on 34th Street, Sarah and Jake’s favourite and seemed perfectly comfortable.  After that, it was on.  Since the women outnumbered the men, they watched The Preacher’s Wife (both versions) after which the women retired for the night and the men watched the Die Hard series.

Emma decided to soak in the tub after which she climbed into bed to read and relax.  It wasn’t long before Nathan joined her and her head was immediately filled with other ideas completely.

Morning found everyone in a perky mood and once breakfast was finished, eager to explore their new surroundings.  Nathan directed them to an “outdoor games room” which held skis, snowshoes, snowmobiles, sleds and outdoor sports equipment.

Everyone chose something and events ensued whether it was racing, tracking.  They were having fun and laughing as usual which lightened Emma’s heart.

Emma and Nathan got into a snowball fight and following fits of laughter, Emma fell flat on her back making snow angels.  Nathan flopped beside her.  “Your favourite sport!”

Emma laughed into his eyes, “I think you’re right,” and catching him momentarily off guard gave him an all-encompassing face wash.  He immediately retaliated followed by a snowball fight she had no hope of winning.

Jake watched over his family both concerned and relieved.  They were safe, that was the important thing he reminded himself even though he remained on edge.  As soon as he had a moment, he intended corralling Nathan to find out what went down, and what shape the property was in.  Even though it was secondary, it was a concern.

Next                                                                                              Previous

Nathan 110

Once everyone was comfortably ensconced in games or just wandering around, Jim contacted his people.  He took Nathan aside.  “They are closing in on the Bank’s residence.  Seems another vehicle joined in.  Our people are inside awaiting their arrival.  They will be met with deadly force.”

“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but since it has, tell our people, no holds barred take them down!  Any and all force required.  I’ve contacted the police and they stand at the ready.”

Emma watched Nathan and Jim.  Her nerves were on edge.  Even if they took this crew down, nothing said more wouldn’t come in their place.  She felt guilty about involving her family.  She couldn’t help it.  Their welfare meant everything to her. It was a relief they had somewhere else to go.  Daniel and her dad would take it in stride but the women wouldn’t.  Her mother wasn’t a fragile woman, but she’d never been involved in anything like this.  Fran’s concern would center on the baby as she’d been involved with Daniel since before his tour in Afghanistan.  Therefore, she knew what to expect and knew Daniel could hand himself.

Within minutes Nathan walked her way.  They toured the room and stopped in the kitchen area.  “My men have handled the situation, but I think it’s best we remain here for a day or two.  It’ll take time for the enemy to regroup.  At this point, they don’t know about my home and it’s location.  All they’ll know is you were gone when they arrived and they were met with enough force to take them down.  It’s the holiday season so obtaining lawyers to extract the survivors from jail will also take time.”

“I don’t know what to say, Nathan.  I’m relieved you handled the situation but I don’t know …. they’ll be back, or others like them.  Perhaps I should return to your home where my family won’t be involved.”

“Nothing says (because you’re with me) they won’t try for your family again, Emma.  Since they can’t get to you, they’ll certainly pick a target that means something to you.  That’s your family.  They’re safe here and well protected.  More so than at your parents home since I have complete surveillance inside and out and the grounds are already blanketed with my people.  They won’t get close.”

“That’s a relief.  I’m not sure how we’ll be able to distract the family, though.  There’s only so much we can do.  We’ve played games, sung songs, there aren’t any albums to involve them with so …”

“What about movies?  They enjoy movies as I recall.”

“Brilliant!”  Emma smiled.

“I have a media room, soundproof with seating for all.  Once everyone’s eaten, I’ll suggest a couple movies.  I have hundreds available, I’m sure we’ll find something they all enjoy.”

“That will work.”  Emma sighed.  It might be a momentary reprieve but she’d take it.

Next                                                                                               Previous



Nathan 109

Nathan understood Emma required some alone time with her dad and returned to the house.  Inside Jim was standing off to the side looking pensive.  As soon as he spotted Nathan, he gestured and they retired to the “den”.

“Seems we have trouble brewing.  My men spotted a vehicle complete with blacked out windows approximately three miles out.  Four men got out, heading this way, they were carrying.  I think it’s time to move everyone out.  I don’t think the family needs to see any fall out or carnage.”

“Alright, have the limo brought around.  I’ll gather the troops, we’ll head to my place and exchange residences, for now, with the others stationed there.  If these people are intent on trouble, they’ll be met with head-on force.”

The second Emma and her father returned, Nathan took Jack aside and explained the plan.  Emma was in charge of gathering Sarah, Jenna, Fran and the baby and a backpack each.  Jack conferred with Daniel and Jackson instructing them to hurry after filling them in.  They quickly hustled to their rooms to collect overnight gear.

Once the mad dash was complete, Nathan collected the women and bustled them into the waiting limo with Jim in charge, while the men climbed into one of the all-terrain vehicles which Nathan drove.

Both vehicles were filled with tense people.  Emma trying for calm suggested, “I’ve never seen Nathan’s home here.  I understand it’s a log home and quite large with rooms for everyone.  It’s well stocked with everything we could possibly need to continue enjoying.”

“How about some songs, Jenna, something upbeat we all know and can sing along with.”

Jenna chose Olivia Newton John’s “You’re the One That I want” which everyone knew and Emma followed up with “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.  Jim immediately turned some music on and they sang along with Adele, Megan Trainer, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion.

They managed to lighten the mood for a time, but it was obvious their thoughts kept returning to the situation at hand.  “Look, I know you’re all concerned, but we have the best men protecting us, Jim, Nathan and a crack team hand-picked by Jim.  When he says we’re safe, we’re ok, we are, you can take that to the bank.”  Emma paused before continuing, “Look at it as a change of location, a continuation of our holiday, but at Nathan’s.”

“Thank you, Emma, I appreciate what you’re trying to do.  It’s simply that none of us have ever been in this situation before.  It’s unnerving and a little scary.  What if…”

“We’ll be equally protected at Nathan’s, more so in fact.  I’ve seen the surveillance video, I know where they are and am aware of what they can do.”

Jim applauded Emma’s efforts.  She was a keeper.  Jenna tossed a look his way from time to time and he smiled reassuringly.  He watched her relax and redouble her efforts at sidetracking the rest.

It took them over an hour to arrive at Nathan’s, but when they arrived, they were stunned at the beauty of the house and grounds.  It was a mansion compared to their home.  Inside it was decked with a beautiful array of Christmas decorations and so welcoming.  Everyone was assigned bedrooms which were massive and homey.

Nathan had caterers prepare a feast and it was prepared and waiting.  Coffee tea and wine stood at the ready.  It took a little doing, but eventually, everyone had recovered enough to relax and settle into a few games with music playing in the background.

Next                                                                                                  Previous





Christmas day was rather fun

Many pillaging with a nerf gun

Round and round they went

Everyone attending was hellbent

On finding and capturing their foe

Running up and down too and fro

Round and round like a merry-go-round

Not a room in the house was out of bounds

They laughed they oohed and awed

As darts they shot from far abroad

Hit their targets one two three

While others shot from bended knee

Fun and entertaining the game

Never a winner could they claim

For the game of pillage went on and on

Until all the darts were simply gone










Nathan 108

The mood was relaxed as they drank mulled wine and everyone did their own thing.  Jim and Jenna were getting along well it seemed even though Jim was on duty, (which he wasn’t about to neglect even though it would have been tempting) it remained his top priority.  He explained in part what he did, while Jenna seemed intrigued.

As evening fell, Emma, Nathan, and Jake took a turn outside to enjoy the lighting which was as festive as always but with a few added twists owing to the pictures Emma had taken in Seattle.

“Dad, how do you manage it?  Every year it seems you add some new element but it always works with what you’ve already done.  It’s so beautiful.  It lights up the sky but it’s elegant entertaining and fun.”

“I get a picture in my head and go with it.  It seems right, I do it.”

“Well, those pictures in your head must be beautiful cause your creations certainly are.”  Emma hugged him close.

“Walk with me?” she asked.

“Nothing I’d rather do.”  He smiled warmly at her.

“So, this new fella, Nathan, seems pretty incredible.  What do you think of him?”

“You first.”  Emma looked over at him before picking up snow to make a snowball.

“He’s intelligent, articulate, has money (obviously) he seems very smitten with you and he’s incredibly versatile.”

“Yeah, I have to agree with you there.  What else?”

“I don’t know him on a personal level, Emma.  All I can add to the picture is what I know of him.”

“And what’s that?”

“I knew his parents, not well, but knew of them I guess I should say.  They were much the same as he is.  He went through a really rough patch when they died, went off the deep end and got himself into all kinds of trouble.”  He went on to describe what he knew of Nathan the boy.

“How did you two meet?”  he asked curiously.

Emma explained then said, “I really like him, dad.  I like everything about him.  I’m half in love with him I think.  I’m just not sure whether to allow myself to make that final leap.  I’ve known him forever, what I know of him now, seems to line up.  Although he does some amazingly incredible things for me, he’s romantic (she explained in detail all the special events he’d planned)  something is holding me back from total commitment.  I guess I wanted to wait to see what your take was.”

“I’m afraid I’m an outsider in this.  I can see what everyone else sees.  You’re the only one that’s been up close and personal.  Everyone has barriers they erect for strangers as a protective mechanism.  He doesn’t seem to have done that.  He appears to be an open book as it were.”

“I know.  That’s the unsettling part for me.  Maybe it’s the journalist in me, I don’t know.  I’ve never met anyone that was truly an open book.  There were always hidden pages that you found later.  I guess I’m worried it’s too good to be true.”

“I mean, I adored him as a pre-teen and then teenager.  He was everything I wanted and admittedly (in part) I’ve measured every man I’ve met, against him. The reality is pretty spectacular and equivalent to what I’d hoped and dreamed he would be.”

“Since you have all the time in the world, I suggest you take it.  Use it, give yourself the space to be as objective as you need to.  You’re young, beautiful, intelligent and resourceful.  You’ll figure it out.”  He hugged her close, a real father-daughter hug the kind he’d always given her as a child.

“Thanks, dad, I love you.”

“I love you too munchkin.”

“If he turns out to be half the man you are, then I’m a winner.”

“Now stop, you’ll make the old man blush.”

“Not a chance!”  Emma play punched him on the arm, “You know who you are.  That’s what’s so special about you.  It’s what all the men in my life have to compete with.  You set the bar pretty high you know.”

Jack hugged her again, “I had some pretty awesome material to work with you know.  I’ve been pretty blessed with my kids.”

Next                                                                                                Previous