A Not-So-Brief Note About Soap

I’m interrupting my discussion of cleaning things because I just have to tell you about soap. Humans make this cleaning thing so very hard on themselves! If one goes to a store and looks at the cleaning supplies there, is … Continue reading

How to clean a living room without magic, part one

Ryan called me last night to see how my popping corn worked, and if I had figured out he to clean a living room yet, because he misses me. (I had to set the phone down to make a little high-pitched noise when he said that). Then because I was having a lot of difficulty finding words to say, he suggested I come by his shop in the morning and we can make plans.

I barely slept for how excited I was to see Ryan again, and waiting until ten in the morning for the store to open was very anxiety provoking and exciting at once, so I began to piece together how to start cleaning a living room while I waited, and it seemed to be such a large task! But, of course, I need a clean home to have a Ryan in it, so it must be done.

But I got to the store just as they opened, and then had to wander about a while until Ryan got done helping some other customers. I felt even more anxious this time, but not in the same way that I have been before, like there was possibility before but now there is something at stake and my little heart kept beating too fast if I heard him talking with a woman, and I kept checking to see if the women were more pretty than I was. Though, honestly I wouldn't even know how to tell. It's all so silly, isn't it?

He came over and seemed awkward and excited to see me at the me too, he had his hands in his pockets and kept smiling and turning a little red on the cheeks in the way he does, and it makes me feel that strange allergy kind of feeling. He helped me find things for popcorn first, then we stood around and looked at vegetables for no reason until I blurted out that I had cleaned my living room, or started to. I'd have to finish later.

He grinned really wide then, and we got to planning, me desperately trying to estimate how long until I am able to learn all I need to know to get my house ready for his visit. I have a feeling I will be very busy cleaning now, as this is a polarizing experience, needing something to be done, well, a lot of somethings to be done, before I can have what I want.

If I was more suspicious, I would think this was planned to keep me distracted from trying to escape my banishment, but I am more inclined to believe that it is as it looks. Partly, because that is what I would rather believe.

We decided that he will come over Wednesday night, which gives me only three days to clean my entire house, which is a fantastic opportunity to find more things to write about.

And make coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I bought honey in a little jar to try stirring into it, Ryan sai he likes honey in his coffe, and I like Ryan so I might like honey in my coffee too.

Wednesday, he will come over with wine and “beef” (cow) and I will have to cook vegetables. And then we will watch a movie and eat and have some wine.

I want to learn how to cook an artichoke, but I did not ask him how, because I want to appear that I am able to do something without help.

I bought my groceries and ran home to get back to cleaning. I cannot wait to see what that night will hold.

 

Anyway, cleaning a living room. Usually, living rooms have at least one or two places that seat between one and three people, covered in cushions, and they point toward the television as far as I can tell, with a low table called a “coffee table” (I suppose it is made of coffee? Is it where people always rest their coffee?). My living room is little different, excepting that I also have a small round table with two chairs at it that serves as an eating area, as my kitchen is simply too small to have a table for eating within it, so I have it in the living room.

All of these surfaces have been covered in debris and dirty dishes and things I have carried inside like the mail, and have not bothered to find a place for, mostly because it is the room that must be walked through to get to the rest of the house, and so easy to put things down.

It is amazing how quickly things accumulate in this human existence. I want to be able to summon a whirlwind to just carry it away, or to make it all shrink to minuscule size and then sweep it all outside. Or perhaps if I could summon a Blargelfett to come and eat anything I do not want, but they are sometimes hard to banish before they give birth after gorging themselves, and no one needs an infestation if baby Blargeletts unless the wish to have every last posession devoured.

Regardless, that is not how things work here, and so I must find a way to clean it with the power of my own body. (Honestly, how do humans get anything else done?) Wouldn't it be marvelous is they had people you could hire to come clean, like those men who worked in my yard?

Cleaning a living room:

You will need:

  • Trash bags – large ones that can be bought at the store. I like the stretchy white ones that can be tied shut like a bag for catching Rxilies for the firefly festival, but there are many types to try.
  • A trash can and a recycling bin – outside the house, stationed there for the city to come and take refuse away
  • A shelf to put things on – I discovered a small bookshelf in the back bedroom, and have decided to use it as a place to set the books and things I enjoy having in the living room with me while I sit.
  • Another room for The Cat to be disdainful in – I find my feline prefers the underside of my bed, but all cats are likely to be different and finicky.
  • Rags and soapy water. In this case, I tore up a particularly hideous dress my Dear Sister said I should wear for my date. It is not the most helpful or cleaning material, but I did find I enjoyed using the dress to clean more than I would to wear.
  • Sweeping things – brooms and a dust pan.
  • The Frightful Vacuum
  • Mopping things – a mop and bucket and some kind of soap for the mopping.

If you are beginning this task after a lot of time like I am, Martha Stewart advises to take it slow and work one bit at a time. I think I agree, but really this is very difficult and tiring and I do not know if it is easier to do it all at once. If you can do it all at once.

First, make coffee or find a source of caffeine and drink it. Turn on music or something to sing to and make the whole ordeal more enjoyable while you dance and clean. Then close the drapes tighter so the Nosy Neighbor will go away and stop watching you.

Trash – take a trash bag with you around the room and put anything that needs to be thrown out into it, things like bottles that once held drinks, used tissues, and the like. It is pretty easy to determine what is trash. Tie the bag (or if you are as my dear sister calls me a “deplorable slob” you may need three or four bags) and put these out in the trash bin.

Recycling – recycling is something humans do with some of their trash to avoid having to overuse the limited resources that they have, this is silly to the fae folk. If only humans could find a way to not need seven layers of plastic or paper between all their goods and the world, perhaps this would be less of an issue. Back home, I was so used to edible dishes and magicked decorations that needed only the stroke of midnight or a dismissing charm and they would flow back into the ether.

If only someone would teach humans magic, perhaps they could save thier poor world without the need to separate out the special kinds of trash from the regular trash, or maybe to not even have trash at all!

But recycling. Every state, I am told, has different things they can recycle. Like here, glass cannot be, but things like clean cardboard and the things that come in my mail box merely to try and sell me stuff I have no need of, and washed plastic containers that once held things like the curds and whey called “cottage cheese” that I like so much comes in (no spiders come to share it with me, which makes me sad. I do miss spiders to talk to – as long as they are the nice kind of spiders). I am not good at recycling things yet, so I encourage anyone who wants to try it look up what their area takes.

Other clutter – since this is where I manage to stack all sorts of other things that are meant to come in the door, then it is important to get these things where they belong so only living room things remain. Take time to get kitchen things into the kitchen, bedroom things into the bedroom, clothing where it goes (the keeping of clothing is still a great and confusing bother to me), and bathroom things in the bathroom, and so on.

The things that remain, I recommend stacking neatly on the shelves if you have them, or finding other appropriate places to set them. Since my eating table is in the living room instead of the kitchen, this is somewhere I tend to put things that do not belong, as well as on top of the coffee table. Make sure all the debris on these places are put away in other rooms or on the shelf.

Sofas and chairs – next comes the places to sit. These get covered in things like crumbs and hair, and there are cushions on them, and things get stuck underneath the cushions (if you ever lose your house keys, this is a good place to look. I never miss magic more than when I need a location spell after I lose my keys). For now, just clean the things off. Martha Stewart says the best way to clean a sofa is to use the dreaded vacuum, so that can wait.

Once things are cleared off and put away (I a very shocked at how much I threw out! How did it all get in?) then start cleaning the other surfaces.

Washing the walls. If the walls are dirty, and mine are not particularly, but I decided to give this a try, then get a bucket of soapy water and some rags or a spounge or something like that and wash them end to end. I found at this point that it needed a step stool to get up high, and for a treacherous moment I tried to flap my wings when I lost my balance and nearly fell. So do be careful, but make sure you get the whole wall, up and down all the way from one end to the other. This is very tiring, and I only made it through one wall before I decided that the walls were clean enough and really, if Ryan is more interested in how clean they are than he is in me, I don't know if he is worth washing walls for.

By this point I was quite cross and hungry and very sick of the whole ordeal, and so I took a break for lunch and to write this post.

I don't know if I have ever been so homesick as I am now, human life is so hard, no wonder they are obsessed with trying to catch magikal creatures and make them slaves, and no wonder they kill their witches. Witches no doubt can at least tell a stupid wall to wash itself.

That is it for today. I have finished my daisy and radish salad, and will be taking the afternoon to go read books that are NOT about cleaning in the bookstore and to drink some tea with milk in it and forget there are floors to clean here in this dumb dirty house.

 

 

How to Wash Dishes Without Magic

Of all the things I enjoyed back home, I miss the edible dishes almost more than anything lately, though I believe in any single day I can miss everything but the incessant sexual harassment from the trolls who lived near my home. They really do like to chase after pixies, both trolls and satyrs are particularly fond of pixies, and as we go about unclothed much of the time, we are quite a spectacle to watch. Oh, friends, you should have seen me back when my hair ws a lovely shade of blue and my skin glittered with pollen as I zipped about gathering nectar to sweeten my morning tea with, and how pretty the pink lines in my wings were. You really should have seen me.

But the dishes. They are a good deal of work here in the human realm! They are made of permanent stuff, just as are the clothes, and just like the clothes, they need constant upkeep and washing and storing and using and most of them break when you drop them, which is a great deal of bother because they won’t mend by being pressed together, but require glue and not the kind of glue that is good for other things around the house, but the kind that easily sticks to skin and then you have to walk around with half a dish stuck to your finger until you figure out how to get it off of you, and it still is not stuck to the rest of the dish and so you end up throwing the two pieces away because it is impossible to use the glue without gluing yourself to something, and now I am much better at unsticking myself from things I have been glued to than I am sticking things I have broken back together.

The bright side of this is that I have about half the dishes I started with when Flora brought over the old chipped set of china she “no longer found of value” (thank you, Flora, for thinking so highly of me as to give me your cast off dishes. Although, you may have had a point because I have broken a good deal of them getting used to washing them).

Yes, I drop dishes when I was them. This is because to wash dishes they need soap and water and this makes them ver slippery, and then I get bored and start looking around the kitchen and the dish always slippes from my hands just as I am over the floor and not the sink. It is such a pity, really.*

And as I said, just like clothing, dishes get dirty over and over and must be cleaned every time you wish to use them again. So the duty falls to me to keep them clean and make sure I don’t break so many that I do not have anything to eat with or on.

If only they were edible like the ones we have back home! I never even had to think about washing them. Because the dishes were made of intertwined grasses or petals or sugar and were eaten as part of the meal. I remember one spring festival, my mother (my birth mother, not the one I shared with Flora) came to town and made an entire hive of bees honey spin about us until it turned into saucers and bowls of cream and goblets of mead and we had a feast and then sucked on the dishes all night as we danced and sang. Oh those were the days that made a pixie feel alive and free and fulfilled, all honey and spirits and parties al night.

And here I am now trying to figure out how to wash permanent dishes in water and soap. It seem slime such an easy task, I hesitate to even write about it, and yet it has taken me nearly a month to feel that I might have any kind of advice to give. For such an easy chore, there are so many possibilities to choose from for how to proceed, and of course there are those dishes to try and prevent breaking.

I have heard that the is some kind of dish washing machine that is installed in some houses, but I am afraid of such a divice, and so am not overly bothered with having to use my hands, particularly now that my collection of dishes has dwindled to a manageable number, through no actions other than me being a bit slippery-fingered. The humans call this trait “butter fingered” like your fingers we covered in butter, which is cute, but if my hands were covered in butter I would be licking it off and not bothering with carrying around things just so I could drop them on the floor.

 

*They really are very ugly dishes. I have chosen some select new dishes for my own use, and by some miracle they remain unchipped and undropped. Maybe dishes are most loyal to those who chose them? Or maybe I am simply vindictive and enjoy tossing a plate to the floor from time to time.

To hand wash dishes:

You will need:

  • Dirty dishes
  • Dish soap – make sure this is actual dish soap, because just as hand soap and dish soap and body soap and face soap does not work in the laundry machines, none but dish soap is suitable for washing dishes. Someone needs to create or conjure a soap that works on everything, from hair to body to floors to laundry. That would be worth just about anything.
  • A sink
  • Hot water
  • Rubber gloves made for washing dishes – these come in different sizes and colors and some of them even have things like feathers on the bits that you first out your hand into and are very cute. Choose whatever you like, but the purpose of these gloves is to protect your hands from getting dry from the soap and you can use much hotter water if you wear gloves between you and the water itself.
  • A drying rack for the dishes – there are many varieties of these, and I really cannot figure out what kind is best or what. It seems like a very personal preference kind of thing.

Start with scraping as much food residues and things from the plates as you can into the garbage. Of course, this would not be necessary if the plates and things could be eaten, but I will stop complaining about that particular point for now.

Then, fill the sink (by stoppering the drain with a plug – don’t try to fill it by running water into it frter than it can escape) with hot water and add enough soap that you get a pleasant amount of bubbles.

If you have a sink that is made like two rooms you are looking down on, then fill one side and leave the other side empty. I like to lay a dish towel or two in the bottom to cussion any breakable things I like and do not wish to accidentally drop and ruin them. It also makes a clean place to set down the cleaned dishes before you rinse them. If you don’t have one of those sinks, but one large basin, then get a large cooking pot or a plastic tub and fill this with water, then use the rest of the sink to set the dishes to be rinsed.

Be careful how much soap you do put in, because the bubbles can get to be quite a lot and when they are so high that they touch the cieling and droop down onto the floor and make everything very slippery, washing dishes is rather impossible and you could end up spending the entire day mopping the kitchen floor (again!) and wiping off the counters over and over and then you will be too tired to do the dishes you needed to and might end up eating noodles from the pan you cooked them in instead of putting them in a bowl.*

So now that you have figured out the proper amount of soap and bubbles, get a dish rag, which is a small towel like thing that can be used for all sorts of wiping and cleaning. It is similar to a “washcloth,” which is used in the washing of skin and bodies, but not in the kitchen. Some people like to use sponges or brushes or all kinds of other tools, but I like the cloths because you can use them to wash the dishes then wipe down the kitchen and then put it in the laundry and get it nice and clean for next time. So I use a dish rag.

Note that if your dishes are particularly dirty or the food is stuck to a plate left out overnight or a pot that has something cooked to the bottom of it, it will probably need to soak in the soapy water before you wash it.

Put on your gloves, and get your dish rag wet with soapy water. Choose several dirty dishes that are not oily and dip them in the sink of water and wash them by rubbing the cloth over the surface until all the food is gone. Set the cleaned dishes aside and keep washing, working from the least the the most oily of the dirty dishes, because oil seems to chase away bubbles somehow.

You will have to rinse the dishes you have cleaned as you go if you have lots of dirty dishes to make room for more. To do this, turn on the water and move the dishes beneath it until all the soap is removed. Then set on the drying rack.

The drying rack is kind of the tricky part. Flora can stack hers admirably high with things, but whenever I try to do this the dishes slide away and break or bounce across the floor, so I try and to keep it simple and straightforward. If you run our of room, you can use a clean towel to dry the dishes or you could spread the clean towel out on the counter and set cleaned dishes down on it to air dry.

And no matter how ugly your donated dishes may be, DO NOT put them in the clothes dryer. The resulting mess is not worth the fun.

When you are done, use the dish rag and the soapy water ( if it is not too dirty) to wipe down the kitchen and anything that is dirty, then put it and the other towels you used aside to launder.

 

*By the way, I have discovered something called “macaroni and cheese” which is exactly what it is. These are noodles called “macaroni” and they have butter and cheese sauce put over them and it is simply a divine thing to eat while watching the television or evesdropping on the neighbors throwing things at each other. A lot of it sounds like dishes that are breaking. I wonder if they have trouble with family giving them ugly china too, and feel obligated to pare down their collection by throwing them at one another in anger.**

 

**What on the planet could two people find to argue about that much? I can’t even think of enough to talk about for as long as they can keep on screaming at each other. It is very impressive.

(1,889 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)

 

How to Bake A Potato Without Magic

I was so excited to find out today that I might be relieved of what the humans call “cabin fever” and venture out alone into the neighborhood in which I live. I wore that little dress I found before, and it felt lively swishing around my thighs as I walked up to a little corner market in the “neighborhood” where I live. Inside, there is a smaller assortment of what I might be able to find in one of the big grocery stores Flora has driven me to.

Anyway, the clerk boy behind the cash register was very helpful in assisting me with buying some small things to bring home for my dinner, and they even had a bouquet of daisies, nice and fresh, for me to munch on with my nighttime cup of foxglove tea (I am much better at making tea now, I might add).

I was most pleased to discover that humans eat nightshades. I thought they might be poisonous, as the foxglove is, to humans, but there in the little vegetable and fruit bin was a bunch of lovely potato roots and even a few tomatoes, though they were already red and not green anymore, so I did not get any. The clerk was eager to tell me that green tomatoes were poisonous unless they were fried, but he did offer to bring me his family recipe next week if I came back. He a lot of this while staring at my breasts in a very flattering way, and I was surprised that I did not mind.

Human men, of course, have an exaggerated interest in mammary tissue as far as I can tell, and a shame it is because human females are forced by this fascination to always wear clothing covering their breasts, lest the men become distracted and crash their cars or what have you. I am so sad for the women that they are restricted so – the feel of wind against your bare chest while flying about in a spring breeze is most wonderful.

(It is a wonder, he is the first person I have come across who was not condescending about my inexperience. Rather, he was excited to share what he knows, and that alone is very refreshing.)

But anyway, the night shades. I told him I would love to try his recipe, and did he have any suggestions for the potatoes. I liked talking to him, he has pretty dark eyes and I kept finding my face getting hot when he would smile at me. Most strange to be attracted to a human. I will have to return to this market often if possible. I am finding it quite difficult to predict the future at all in this human world as things seem to change often. He told me that potatoes need cooking, and that he has many ways he likes to cook them but have a tried them baked?

He has given me his recipe for baked potato, scrawled on a piece of the paper they print a record of what you buy on, along with his phone number at the bottom of the paper, “Just in case I had any questions.” Then he helped me choose a few pieces of meat to try cooking, and I bought them though I don’t have any idea what to do with dead flesh of cow. I will freeze them, though, in case I feel adventurous in the future.

On my way back from the shop, I had to walk past my nosy neighbor’s house. The man was out front, and he stopped me to chat and let me know that I was wearing such a flattering dress (I notice that I do mind when he stares at my breasts, very much, unlike with the boy in the shop). He let me know that his wife was going back out of town on business of some sort. Why does he feel the need to let me know these things? He kept talking about how when she was gone I really ought to come over.

But no, that does not explain the initial invitation. Maybe he really is a spy for the Council, and his sudden insistence upon becoming closer to me is because of my new probationary period. I can only speculate, however. I cannot think of any other reason. And I do wish he would not stare at me so. I also wish I could find a better way to extricate myself from his awkward conversation.

I am running out of polite ways to put him off, really. His wife, though she still has been short, perhaps, with me since the lawn incident – maybe it is because the back part of the property is still overgrown? It is hard to tell, but I really do not understand why he is only interested in me eating with him only when she is away. Maybe she is more angry than I thought?

By the way, the boy’s name is Ryan. The shop boy, I mean, not my queer neighbor.

Yes, my mind keeps wandering back to him. He really is most pleasant to look at and to talk to.

Here is his method for oven cooking or “baking” potatoes, in this case they are “russet”, which means they’re kind of brown and rather large, bigger than my fist. And dirty, so scrub them well before beginning with a brush.

 

Here: Ryan’s method for baked potatoes: (I will leave off the phone number if you don’t mind.)

You will need:

  • An oven – one of those big kiln- like objects in most kitchens, beneath the stove burners. Some Faeries have magic-powered ovens, I know, but these are heated with gas or electricity,
  • Potatoes – I’m using two, but I am sure more would work.
  • A fork – one of those utensils that is used to eat, it looks like a pitchfork.
  • Oil – I am using oiled oil, which is made from pressed olives. The kind I’ve bought is labeled “virgin” which Ryan told me means was the first pressing of the olives, but it still makes me giggle.
  • Salt – I know, the fae don’t react well to salt, but I’ve figured out that it is because it dispels magic and hurts when the magic is taken away. No magic to lose makes salt a rather pleasant condiment.
  • A baking sheet – a large metal tray that you can rest things on and then put inside the oven, and take back out.
  • Oven mitts – padded hand coverings which are used to handle hot things safely.
  • Butter
  • Sour Cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Pre-heating is important, because things don’t start cooking the way you want them to unless the oven is as hot as it needs to be.

While the oven heats up, wash the dirt from the potatoes and dry off, then poke holes in it with the fork to let boiling juices inside out.

Then, rub the potatoes with the oil and sprinkle on the outside with salt. Set the potatoes on the baking sheet and then set this all in the oven when it is 350°.

Wait an hour. Then, check the potatoes by skewering them with a fork. If the fork pokes inside them easily, then they are done. If the potatoes are still hard, then wait another twenty minutes and test again.

When they are done, pull them out with the oven mitts on your hands, and then transfer the potatoes (with something that isn’t your bare hands) onto a plate. Cut open with a knife and then mush the insides with a fork. Spread with lots of butter and salt, and then add a big glop of sour cream.

I usually like my root nightshades raw from the ground, but I must say this was very very delicious. Worth the wait.

Of course, I polished it off with sugar-dusted daisies.

And thought about the boy from the shop. How interesting that I cannot get my mind off of him. Even noticing the neighbor man peeking into my living room window before I shut the curtains (I may need to invest in better window coverings) cannot dampen my spirits,


(1,352 words)




 

Mowing Grass Without Magic

I believe I mentioned the existence of lots of growing things on either side of this house previously as a challenge, and I have continually been avoiding doing anything about it, because I am rather unaccustomed to dealing with garden wildernesses without the help of my magic to seek out wasps and the right roots and flowers or where something that should not be disturbed might be living.

But as usual, I find that my annoyingly nosy neighbors have decided to ask if I intend to. Well, neighbor, but they are both to blame as far as I care. It is starting to become very tiresome, this meddling. I feel as if my sister, the Council, my neighbors, and all other form of being have suddenly decided to take great and overbearing interest in my doings. And I am beginning to wonder if my neighbor might even be a spy for the Council – the man has made several overtures for me to come to his house and dine with him while his wife is out of town. I find this most disturbing – we all know very well that eating and drinking what another offers us in their dwelling is an invitation for enchantment!

What does he think I am? A pixie to be enslaved with honey cups and glasses of chilled white wine? (He gave me this last detail as a means to entice me, though I have never tried a chilled white wine, I imagine it to be like a cold mead, which is most intriguing). But despite all, I declined his offer, even when he gave me a bouquet of flowers.

But the flowers and the asking for me to come eat makes me sure he is in place to spy on me, either for the council or for other reasons, and that the flowers were to encourage me to tell the truth. Shame, too, because they were some of the tastiest flowers I have come across in a very long time. I should have asked him where he procured them; I do miss munching on daisies before bed.

Flowers are a dangerous gift. All one needs do is place a little ambrosia dust in the middle of one, and as soon as you might smell or taste the stuff, there you are in a puff of hazy glittering air and glowing for all the Realms to see and they can take you anywhere and do nearly anything to you and you have to tell the truth if they ask you any questions. (Now, it isn’t that I haven’t been tempted to try this trick to woo a certain elf male, but of course, I continue to refrain.)

The neighbor did not stop at his flowers, I might add. He kept telling me exactly how long his wife would be out of town, and indeed she got back yesterday as he predicted. I wonder if this was some way of telling me is is watching me, or has powers of omniscience? What is the goal when a human reports how long their spouse is away?

The day she got back, the wife even bothered me. I was sitting out in the back yard, contemplating if the magical tracking the Council uses to help me maintains focus on the house alone might allow me a stroll. (I’d just found a lovely little fluttery dress in the things Flora brought me, and wanted to feel the wind on my skin as I strode about.) I was on the front walk, when she came over, walking the way my mother used to fly when I had left something out in the rain to ruin, and told me that my garden was a total disgrace and that I needed to do something about it. And didn’t I need to have pants on.

I’m not sure why she asked that about my outfit; she has worn skirts before, so I believe they are clearly a part of the human wardrobe. Perhaps she was concerned I might catch a chill. It was hard to tell, because she was obviously upset about something, and she asked me a few questions about her husband and what he was up to while she was away. Maybe they are playing spying games against each other, and she is feeling upset that he guessed when she would be back and is trying to get back at him. Maybe she hid some kind of spying device in my grass and the length of it is interfering with it’s working. Human gadgets could be disturbed by grass, maybe. They are easily disturbed by things like “solar flares” and bumps and moisture, so I do not see it as being impossible.

Anyway, she did seem plenty mad, and I do not wish to draw any of her anger my way if I can help it. I have enough trouble.

So, my friends, I have successfully managed to mow my front yard. (The back, I suspect will need the weeds and things pulled out of the ground manually, which will have to happen later.) I did not do an incredibly good job at mowing, I suspect, because this was my first time operating machinery at all, and as I have said before, I am rather insecure about dealing with anything I might find living in the yard without my magic to help guard me. It seems that people like to mow in some kind of very specific way, but I cannot quite grasp what is so special about one method over another.

To Mow:

You will need:

  • A hag stone – if you cannot actually find an authentic, adder stone, then any rock with a hole in it will do.
  • Lawn mower – I found a lawn mower in the little shack that humans call a “shed” in back, and it appears to run on electricity, because I had to plug it in with a long orange power cord. It reminds me of the vacuum contraption I have not yet found the courage to use, I fear it may suck up something important, and then where does it go? Is the vacuum a portal into another place where it disappears? Is there an alleating nomgog living inside of it? Or is it as boring as all the other human things are and must be emptied, so sucked up objects are not lot forever? Oh well, back to mowing.
  • Somewhere to put grass trimmings – in my case, this is an extra garbage bin that is reserved for organic waste. Most convenient.

First, since so many varieties of Folk like to live hidden in grasses and things, and many are very good at concealing themselves when living in human territories, make sure to scan the yard for any signs of them by looking through the hole in your hag stone. Of course, I am not allowed any magical implements, so I had to do this by tramping about and ringing a bell, to make sure they all left the yard before I got started, which seemed to amuse some of the youths on my stet to no end. You might think they weren’t taught anything about how to scare off mystical creatures. Negligence, for sure.


Luckily, my yard seemed free of any of the things that might wish to inhabit such lovely tall grass, and so I was able to get on with mowing.

As I said, this particular mower is electricity driven*, and so I must watch for the cord at all times, so I decided the best was was to hold the cord behind me and attack the grass in a forward and back kind of motion, going over each patch of grass and weeds until it seemed shorn close enough to the ground. Some patches were tall enough that I had to raise the end of the lawn mower and sort of set it down on top.

The way these mower things work is they have blades beneath a big compartment that spin around and cut the grass, then the clippings are flung back into a bag kind of thing, like what one might pack harvested krikri eggs into to take home. This bag fills up quite quickly when the lawn has been let to grow, and so must be emptied into the receptacle. Just take it off, dump all the trimmings into the open top of the bin, then stick it back on and keep mowing. If you wait too long, then, well, it’s messy and probably just trust me on this. Empty it often.

And there, now my neighbor lady has not reason to be angry with me anymore, and she can turn her attention to figuring out how her husband knows so blighted much. At least while she is back, he probably won’t be asking me to come and eat his evil food offerings for now. At least I hope.**

*The Internet tells me that most lawn mowers are gas and oil powered, and give off noxious fumes. I am most grateful for the inconvenient but not poisonous option of electricity. There are others which have a bunch of spinning blades that move when the contraption is pushed forward by hand, but that is just creepy. And all that iron to possibly touch? No. In my human disguise, I am not so badly hurt by iron as most fae, but I do not wish to handle spinning blades of death either.

**Although this issue is a welcome distraction from my Council troubles.

(1,567 words)

 

Day One Without Magic

Day One

Welcome to my first blog post!

I am most excited with this opportunity to share with you my research on how to live without the use of magic. There are so many reasons that a faerie will choose to live a domestic life in the company of humans. My sister Flora, for example, has lived many wonderful years as a foster mother to many cursed princesses, and as we all know princess are seriously allergic to magics until they come of age and are able to face their curses and let the prince come to save them. It can take three years of total domesticity to gain status as a foster faerie, and those years are very hard indeed. I hope this blog may assist in any potential foster faeries’ dreams coming true.

I also wish to be here for those fae who have somehow lost their powers, either by accidental overuse or backfire, or those who are suffering the discipline of the Council of Magical Affairs*. It is a difficult time for any fairie or pixie who is suddenly stricken without the use of their inherent powers. My heart goes out to these unfortunate fellows, and this blog is also for them.

And of course these are just two of the many examples for which a faerie might find herself in the position to need to live without magic – let us not forget the witches who marry into human families, the leprechauns who are endeavoring to protect their savings, and all the others of us who at some time or another find need to live among nosy human neighbors.

What has motivated me to undertake such an endeavor, you ask?

Thanks to some very thorough invetigative reporting into the inner workings of the Blessed Council of Magical Affairs, I have landed myself a position of great growth potential. I have been, shall we say, gifted with the life and home of a twenty-something girl. I have a house to live in and my wings have been quite well concealed – so well that I might not even know they exist myself if I didn’t previously remember having been a fairy of barely one hundred and twenty years, young I know, but one can never start too early at broadening their life skills.

I am most excited to be able to report on my endeavors while my magical powers are not, shall we say, available. I am determined to turn these dandelions into wine and share my trials for those who also wish to live a magic free existence.**

So I make the commitment of living as long as I am required as the duty necessitates to thoroughly investigate and report on living and caring for myself without the use of magic. The Council, in their saintly wisdom, have decided to help me and have taken away my powers so I may not be tempted to cheat and use them in any way to try and escape complete my research. They were so impressed with my report in the Winged Weekly about their wooly-winged and stingy ways that they have been so gracious as to sponsor this project with their full emprisoning and binding support.***

I’m sorry, I seem to have become distracted. It is amazing how difficult it is to have to type words into a keyboard instead of simply dictating to a magical quill or Smiegt scribe. (If anyone finds my scribe, please make sure he is in a cage at the full moon. He was bitten by a weretroll a few weeks back, and I am afraid of what effects it might have on the poor guy. No sense in letting him run amok if we can help it though, yes?)

Scribe or no, friends, I am determined to report on every aspect of living a human-like existence, and I shall be faithful to express both my successes and failures in all things as I make this adjustment. Please feel free to offer suggestions and help as well as encouragement. As for my sisters, who are mostly helpful, please find ways to express your condescension with the inherent grace with which you conduct your lives.

Thank you for stopping by!

*I have been kindly reminded to express my gratitude and admiration for the great works the Council does for our kind in the pursuit of magical safety and the protection of those affected by adverse magical reprocessing. We are all blessed to be under their thumbs safekeeping. Blessed be the Council.

**My sisters have made it clear to me that it really isn’t that hard and humans have been living without magical abilities – of course with the exception of those the Council bestows with the Gift (and we all know that has never gone wrong) – and they assure me that this project is indeed unnecessary. I however, wish to continue my pixie duties of being young and impulsive. I am sure they will find more to say on the subject at every new avenue I find to explore, and I welcome their always kind and loving advice and feedback.

***All references that suggest that the Council is a bunch of wooly-winged busybodies who have enslaved me in a human existence are merely in jest and are not to be taken seriously. I am to remind you that I am a silly pixie and am not to be taken seriously in general.****

****This is not true. They are a bunch of wooly-winged busybodies.*****

*****Just kidding. Mostly.