Popping Corn Without Magic

As I have come to realize I may be living without magic for quite some time, I have decided that humans (the Ryan kind anyway) are actually quite interesting, and so I have taken to studying their ways a little. If I can think like a human, perhaps I might be better able to learn how to do things without magic. I mean, they have been living without it since they were born from mud, right? Surely they have figured out a few things.

And in my study of human behavior, I have two nearby subjects to observe.

My neighbors have been quite interesting the last few days, and I am glad because staying inside of the house and trying to figure out how to best perform the actions of life without magic is becoming most tedious. I am very grateful to them for the entertainment they are providing to me. I can hear them very clearly from my bedroom if they a arguing in their living room, as it is about six feet from my living room window, and though a lot of it makes little sense without understanding what they are really talking about – humans talk in circles so much; I wonder how much easier their lives might be if only they were to speak plainly about things, but instead they insist upon talking about subjects that are quite unrelated.

For instance, I am almost positive that the lady neighbor was not actually upset about having to remove a lipstick stain from the man’s shirt collar, and yet she kept talking about how difficult it was for her to forget about, but how hard can it be to get lipstick from clothing? Surely it is not memorable in difficulty? I will have to investigate.

Anyway, I have noticed that when they don’t want to refer to something very directly, they use the word “It” – that is a word they enjoy using. It and another word that Flora has informed me is not to be used in polite company, so I shall pretend they are saying “puck” instead, since Puck the Mischievous is a greatly admired character among our culture, and from what I can tell to “puck up” is to make a mistake or to mess up things very well, both things Puck of the stories was indeed very renowned for. I believe my polite replacement will work well.

I have also been informed that the backyard is an eyesore, yet again, by the lady neighbor. She marched over here after a very loud but unintelligible shouting match… Well, that is not entirely correct. I have discovered a most amazing human delicacy called “popcorn”, which is dried corn kernels you pop into little crunchy balls of delight. They can be coved in just about any flavoring and munched on, and I have learned they are best enjoyed while being entertained, such as when attending a theater movie or listening to a screaming match while leaning out the open window to hear them better on a lovely night.

So there I was, listening and eating pieces of popped corn from a bowl, (I had these sprinkled with melted cow’s butter and dried lavender blossoms), and the lady walked out her front door in the middle of the yelling. She got to her car and had the door opened when she saw me. I waved and smiled; it really was a pretty evening last night, and if I had a driving machine I would take it for a ride with the windows down and let the breeze table my strange yellow hair. Anyway, she saw me and got all frowny and then walked over to the window and stood in front of me with her fists on her hips like she expected me to do something.

I offered her some popped corn kernels, but she got even more frowny and informed me that the front yard being neat now only shows how awful the back yard has become, and that I needed to get that taken care of very quickly (I was polite and did not inform her I almost have that taken care of).

Then, she turned quickly, making her hair fling out behind her in a dismissive fashion. And believe me, I felt very dismissed. I spent the rest of the night practicing the move, thinking it would be most useful the next time my dear sister decides to share her dear ideas about how I am choosing to spend my time and how I am choosing to live in my humble human dwelling and my “even more humble human body”. She gave a meaningful look to my bosom when she said that, and I did not tell her that many men seem to think my human body is not so humble.

I am improving at not saying things that might get me in hot water, which is useful.

Well, I practiced that hair swing almost all night until I was too dizzy to stand. I even tried it on The Cat, but The Cat was much less than impressed and wanted me to brush her instead. Hopefully my powers of hair dismissal are good enough to work on Flora.

The lady neighbor has not returned yet today, and I wonder if the argument was about whether or not he could track her – according to my memory, she is not due for another “business trip” for at least another day. Maybe she is hiding and he will have to guess where she is? She, at least, is not a Council spy, or she would be friendlier to me, I would like to think. The man, though, he seems to enjoy trying to see through my windows at night. I have taken to wearing a robe instead of walking about in nature’s own for now, but I really must see to getting more secure window coverings. Perhaps this weekend.

 

How to make popcorn on the stove:

You will need:

  • A pot for cooking with a lid – I have a rather large pot that Flora used to make soup in, which was quite satisfactory in this endeavor. I I’d try it in a shallower pan at first, but that ended in a rather messy disaster and I prefer to not have to sweep the kitchen so often as I have been needing to. Plus, if you use a larger pot than you think you will need, you can use it as a mixing bowl as well. I will explain.
  • Popping corn – I found some very pretty kernels that are all different colors and they pop up to be slightly different colors, which is simply charming.
  • Fat that can take high temperatures – I choose a kind of cow butter product called ghee, which is basically butter that has had all the things that can burn removed from it. It is a marvelous invention, and can get very by hot without burning.
  • Butter
  • Seasoning for the popped corn – this can be just about anything edible.
  • A large bowl to hold the pop corn.
  • A mixing spoon

Now, of course, in the store you can buy bags of popcorn that simply can be microwaved and will pop up into a little bag of joy, but they are more expensive and limit one to so few choices of flavoring. Plus, the Internet tells me they might contain harmful chemicals, and after going to so much trouble choosing cleaning chemicals that are not toxic, it seems a shame to ruin it by ingesting poisons.

So I shall pop corn on the stove instead for now. Besides, it is some of the best fun I have had yet in my kitchen. If I ever get my magic back, you will still find me with a pot and fire popping corn, because it is better than poking skeskes with sharp sticks for an evening of enjoyment. And that is hard to beat with how their eyes shoot our purple sparks when they get mad.

Anyway, get your things ready to begin with, because this all happens really fast once you get started. You will want to have your pop corn measured – I used 1/3 cup – and the ghee or oil in your pan – 3 tbsp for the 1/3rd cup popping corn, and the bowl convenient to receive the pop corn once it is fully popped. You’ll also want to have butter and salt and any other seasoning you enjoy at hand.

Put your pot on the stove at medium-high heat and drop in 3 tablespoons of ghee. This seems to be a minimum, but I imagine if you would like, since ghee is basically concentrated unsealed butter, you could add more and leave less work of buttering later. If you like salt, this is an excellent time to add it so it can mix with the ghee and then coat the popped pieces evenly. Don’t add anything that can burn though, because the oil is very very hot.

When the oil seems hot, drop in a few kernels of pop corn, and wait for them to pop. They might jump out of the pan, which makes me giggle a lot. Don’t touch the oil or ghee to see if it is hot. This leads to sadness and hurt fingers.

When the sacrificial testing kernels have popped, then the oil is hot enough. Drop in the 1/3 cup of popping corn and cover with the pot’s lid, or else there will be popped pieces of corn shooting all across the kitchen and getting everywhere. So cover the pot, then pick up the pot (you may want to have some of those protective mittens for this), and shake it away from the heat for a count of thirty, then return to the heat and shake it while the corn pops and makes fantastic sounds.

It really is great fun.

It helps to keep the lid loose for crispy corn, but make sure it isn’t so uncovered that the popping corn does not spring out – it is clever and escapes easily.

As soon as the popping slows, uncover the pot and deposit the corn into your waiting bowl so it cannot burn. Burned popcorn smells awful.

Then, put the pot back on the stove and turn off the stove. Melt your butter with the remaining heat and then mix in whatever seasonings you would like to use before dumping the popped corn back in the bowl and stir with a long-handled spoon.

Pour back into the big bowl, find something entertaining to enjoy (like neighbors arguing) while you eat it, and snack away.

I have made three bowls of the stuff today!

 

If anyone has any recommendations for more flavorings, I would love to know what they are.

 

(1,758 words)

 

Feeding a Cat Without Magic, Raw Food

After another morning of failing to please my feline with my canned offerings, I have begun to fear for my safety, as most of my relationships with cats until now has involved me avoiding becoming their next meal. I know I am now inside of a mostly human body, but part of me is still pixie, and I am afraid that is she continues to dislike her food, she may realize that that pixie part is indeed here, and she might decide I am tasty.

So, I turned to the Internet, and there discovered an idea about feeding cats and dogs raw food. This makes a lot of sense to me, as until now I have not seen a cat eat anything but raw foods. She is being so picky, it did not really seem to be of any harm to try, though I am a little wary of keeping raw meat on plates in my kitchen. However, the Internet advisors are quite helpful, and the health benefits to the cat seem to be many, so I have decided to try it.

After using my cell phone to call several animal supply stores that are within my radius, I found one called the Dog’s Meow, which is a most confusing name indeed, and they said they can help me feed my cat a raw diet, and explained that it really is the healthiest thing for her.

Healthy is great, but I’m mostly interested in her not eating me, thank you very much. They said she would probably take to eating raw food very easily. It seemed the girl on the phone believed I was joking, which actually may be a good thing. I have noticed my perception of how things work is not the same as the humans around me, and I might be found too odd if everything I said was taken seriously.

It is getting quite warm here, probably close to summer, though it is hard to know for sure without the festival season. Has it happened yet? Tell me all about it if anyone knows, I do so enjoy a good festival.

But, yes, feeding.

I put on another small shift because it is pleasant to wear in the heat, and some sandals and walked the short way to the pet food store. I passed by the small grocery store, and I waved to Ryan, but for some reason my throat closed up and my face felt too hot for me to go in and talk to him. Perhaps another one of those allergies I seem to have? I decided I should wait until I was able to speak without feeling funny, and so I kept walking to the pet food store.

There, the woman I’d spoken to on the phone greeted me. She has dyed hair – how funny humans dye their hair natural shades. We pixies normally have pinks and purples and blues and all kinds of colors in our hair, but humans are limited to the colors of dirt, earth, and sun. I myself now have pale yellow hair, and though I miss the blue it is funny to have such a different color. If I were to go to the effort of changing the color of my hair, I would choose a color that cannot happen naturally for humans, yet they seem to prefer to stay within the confines of their natural spectrum. Pity.

She led me to several large freezers that we’re filled with several kinds of pre-prepared and balanced cat foods, all from different kinds of meats and with different things added, but she assured me that they all had the nutrients cats need to stay healthy (apparently, cats need a very specific and boring list of things that can be removed from their food when it is cooked) . She also told me about all kinds of additions I could put in with the food, and after more research (I am beyond sick of research) I have decided upon a few things to try adding to see what happens, but this will happen later, and I will update this post as I try them.

I bought some beef kind, since beef are large animals and I thought maybe fewer would have to die to satisfy my cat over time, and some fish oil (does one press fish to get oil like with olives, or is it some other way?), and then a little catnip plant because the woman insisted that cats love the stuff. She also advised me to grow the cat some grass to eat.

I mean, if anyone is getting grass grown for them to eat, it ought to be me.

I paid for the food and walked home. This time, just getting close to the small shop made me feel that allergy come on, but I walked past again and hovered in the door a minute. I mumbled about my new house cat through the odd lump-like feeling in my throat and Ryan told me he likes cats, which is odd but probably a good thing. I excused myself before the allergy could make me do something strange, telling him the meat in my bag might melt, then went home feeling odd and still flushed, perhaps it was from showing too much skin in the heat. Luckily, my neighbors were too busy yelling inside of the house to bother me more. I wanted to get the cat fed as soon as possible.

How to feed a cat raw food:

You will need:

  • A cat
  • Raw food prepared to the specific needs of the animals. I chose a brand called instinct, but another that was recommended was called rad cat.
  • Warm water for defrosting
  • Warm water to mix in the food
  • Any food supplements you choose to add – these include raw egg yolk (never use the clear part they call whites, they are bad for animals), fish oil, and some powders and things you can buy. For now, I want to begin with the food as it is simplest.
  • A fork to mix the food and water
  • A container to store the prepared food

Thaw a small portion of food in warm water. If it is unwrapped then just use warm water and mix it with the food as it melts. If you chose some that is in a container, thaw it with a bowl of water. Or if aren’t in as large of a hurry as I am, then I suppose you can thaw it in the refrigerator.

Mix the thawed food with water until it is a fairly thin consistency, the woman from the shop said “like grits” but I have to guess, because I cannot imagine what grits might be. A bowl of muddy sand, maybe? I did decide to add some of the fish oil at this point, because cats like fish and I thought she might like it.

Offer only a little at first. Changing an animal’s diet too quickly can upset their stomach. I was reckless in my anxiety to not be eaten, so I threw this bit of caution to the wind, but I imagine it is better to be cautious and go slow.

Stand back and watch the cat sniff the food, weigh if she wants to eat it, then try some, wander away, come back, and then decide to eat it in earnest.

Sigh in relief.

I think it’s probably good to offer this in small amounts if you can, but some of the websites recommend feeding twice. I am sure your animal will educate you as to what works best for her.

Make sure to store the rest of the food in refrigerator. It would probably spoil if left on the counter and the cat would reject it.

So that is raw food. She seems to like it much better than the canned stuff, and now I can relax and get to planning my next endeavor in cleaning my house. I cannot help but look at it now as if it were going to be seen by him, particularly my bed, which is most disturbing, and a little exciting.

Also, I believe I have found a solution to my backyard weed problem. I will report on this soon.

(1,355 words)

 

How to Feed A Cat Without Magic

Well, the Council of Magical Affairs has been gracious in their wisdom and have given me quite a strange companion. I have awoken this morning to a new house mate. A cat.

I am unsure of their motivations. Did they worry I might get lonely, as it is certainly a long time before I am approved for common human contact away from my hovel? Did they somehow coerce the cat to keep track of me? That bit is hard to believe, as cats are notoriously unbeholden to anyone for any reason ever.

And now I am sharing a dwelling with one.

As many of you are aware, pixies and cats have a tense history, what with their propensity to chase us and hold us down while their young chew on our wings. They are also very sharp, not only in the intelligence sense but in the claws and teeth sense, which makes me tense. Very tense. Every time the little fuzzy thing opens her mouth to yawn, I jump in case I actually need to run.

And of course, she is quite affectionate. She rubs against my legs as I walk in an attempt to trip me, perhaps, while I walk, and when I sit down to write, she likes to lay next to me and does that forward and back motion with her front paws that seems to mean pleasure, since she rumbles when I find the courage to pet her head. (Flora has told me that the paw thing is called kneading, and the rumbling is purring, and yes both of them mean she is happy, she also adds that I am a stupid glitter winged biddy.)

Anyway, I woke up to her. She was looking at me fiercely in the face from the space next to my pillow. When I opened my eyes, she meowed and ran out to the kitchen, where I discovered all the supplies I might need to care for her, including the box filled with special sand for her to use as a toilet, and she already had.

I do not know why, again, she is here, she seems to have some idea, but is not inclined to tell me, of course. Because she is a cat that’s why. I am sure she is able to talk to me still even without my magical abilities. But I suspect she enjoys my confusion. And my fear. She is sharpening her claws on the carpet-coved pole I found in my living room after I made my morning tea, and I simply cannot help but squeak in horror when she pounces on it and then runs away, as if she is practicing killing something. I know my sounds of fear are making her laugh. I just know. And I am sure the Council, if they are somehow watching me, are laughing as well.

The little pink tag that was hanging around her neck on a collar says “Jezebel”. Well, it did, but she seems to have lost it already.

We have only been together this day so far. Much of it has been spent with us staring at one another, her discontented with my ineptitude, and me unsure about which things I am inept. Aside from owning a cat, I suppose.

Because this is a guide for the magic less pixie, I suppose I will take advantage of this new development and write a brief how-to.

 

How to feed a cat:

You will need:

  • A cat
  • Bowls – I have one small cat dish, but I recommend having more than one to begin with. Read on and see why.
  • Assorted favors of tinned cat food
  • A spoon
  • Paper and a pen

Now, were I back home in the Realms with my magic at hand, I would simply conjure some whisky to trade to the Pied Piper and get him to fetch me a few rats, maybe. Or maybe I could sing in a few mice or birds as prey, or even convince the cat that my neighbors were far tastier than I and then run away until the cat was full. Of course, in the Realms I am a pixie, and might already be eaten by the cat, which in a morbid way would mean I had successfully managed to feed her after all.

But no matter.

Start with choosing a random can of food and open it. Wait for the cat to come trotting in expectantly, and she will sit and look up with hope other eyes. Feel an odd sense of wanting to please the cat, then scoop out some food into a bowl one offer it to her by setting it on the floor.

Watch with sinking feelings as she sniffs the food a little, then comes back to her sitting position, paws together, looking up at you with an expectant look that surely you do not want her to eat that.

Of course you don’t. How silly of you.

Open another can. Put it in the next bowl. Offer this to the cat next to the first dish on the floor.

Watch with dismay as she disdainfully sniffs that bowl, then yawns and looks at you again.

Repeat this process until all the flavors are open and offered to the cat. Watch with confusion when she goes back to the first bowl and eats everything you gave her.

She will wash her face by licking her paw, then rubbing it back along her whiskers and ears and such. If she has been pleased with your offering, she will wash her face.

If she is displeased, then she will maybe lick her lips and saunter away, obviously disappointed at how poorly you are at caring for her.

Feel vaguely confused at how much you want to please her. Follow her and proffer the herb catnip as a gesture that you will try better in the future.

I suggest starting a list of what foods she likes. It may pay off in the long run.

 

In other news, I called that Ryan boy and told him how pleased I am with the potato I cooked with his recipe. He asked if I had tried cooking the meat yet, and I said no, I really have no idea how. He thought that a funny and told me he ought to come over some night and give me cooking lessons. And for all the pixie dust I said sometime he ought to. Now, I am panicking and looking around my house at how much needs to be cleaned and sorted out before I could ever dream of having a boy over.

Then, I panic that I am panicking about a human boy in my house. Surely I am not being influenced by this human world so soon? I have an elf back home after all! If I ever get home, that is. No harm in having him over just to help me with my responsibilities in reporting on how to live without magic, yes? Maybe he knows something about how to please cats. I should ask him when I go by his shop for cat food tomorrow.

Oh, and the lady neighbor came by again and told me that the weeds out in my back yard are making her sneeze. I asked her if that is what causes sneezing, because I have been doing a lot of it too. She did not think this was funny, even though I did not mean to be. Then she told me to clean the back yard up “or else”. Or else what, I did not get to ask, because she turned in a way that made her hair flick in back of her and walked back to her house all straight-backed and angry seeming. I wonder if she is always like this, or if she is simply easily perturbed by overgrown yards.

I will have to research how to clear weeds as soon as I can, of course. But I also have a messy house to clean in case Ryan was not joking about coming to assist me.

Humans seem to put a lot of stock in clean houses. And mine has become harder to keep that way what with this cat laying on things and leaving hair behind on all of it.

Oh, we’ll. Just more things to keep me busy not escaping. Good night, everyone. Pleasant dreams.


(1,380 words)