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 Make Coffee Without Magic

Getting ready to make coffee

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I have discovered the beverage coffee.

It never seemed like a good idea before, but I understand that humans use it for energy and so I thought I might give it a try because I do need extra energy and the bookstore where I have been reading about cleaning has a coffee shop where they serve all kinds of caffeinated things, it coffee is by far the best. Well, coffee with cow's milk.

Coffee is a lot like tea, really, except it has this stuff called caffeine which is only in some teas, but not the ones made of flowers and herbs that I am used to but it is s lot like tea because it is hot and tastes good, but is much better than tea because it makes you feel very awake and alive and like you could clean all day and never get tired until you run out of coffee to drink.

This coffee with milk i like is called a latte, and it is warm steamed cow's milk and something called espresso which is like coffee only brewed differently, and you can get flavor in it which is a flavored sugar and if you get a big latte with lots of sugar and coffee in it because I asked for extra coffee, it tastes almost like if you heated up ice cream only it gives you lots of energy.

But it is hard to make lattes at home, so I decided to try the other kind of coffee the kind that is roasted coffee beans and they are ground up and hot water is poured through them and it makes a tea-like stuff only much stronger and it tastes bitter but not in a bad way, especially if you add cream and sugar to it and then it still gives lots of energy and I like it a lot. Humans like coffee so much that they make whole businesses called “Coffee Shops,” and I am intrigued that such a simple thing can be a means to generate this money thing humans must have to survive.

But you can make coffee at home too! There are things called coffee machines that you can buy and they make pots of coffee and they automatically drip hot water that they heat up through the machine and it runs though the grounds and coffee comes out the other end.

A whole pot at my disposal seems a very bad idea. I only want a single cup of coffee at a time because after a couple of cups today I am a positively buzzing, which is lovely. I am zipping about like a glow bug and I cannot seem to sit still and my mind is racing fast, and if I were able to brew an entire pot I might drink too much and vibrate into some other form – who knows how well this human body is constructed.

So one cup at a time, then, for me. Despite how much I love this feeling of running around able to clean and do everything I want to do in a day, I suspect there is a crash at the end like the time I accidentally drank an energy tonic my mother was making for my father after he'd been out terrorizing the locals on all hallows eve. I was zooming around nearly at the same speed as sunbeams until it finally wore off and I slept for a fortnight.

I suspect something similar awaits me now, and I really don't have the time to sleep like that when there is so much cleaning to do before my date with Ryan, though my research has been very fruitful today.

Did you know there is a woman named Martha Stewart who knows everything about taking care of a house? She does! Although I am not sure if it is permissible for me to use her book because I cannot tell if she is truly human for all that she knows and how many books of hers are on the shelf. I would call My Dear Sister Flora to ask, but forming sentences without skipping words is kind of difficult right now. I bought the book in any case, and I will use it until the blasted Council decides that I cannot. It seems like they should make a manual for these kinds of things.

It would be genius, wouldn't it? Being a fairy disguised as a human selling tips on how to take care of everything. It makes me think about what it would be like to have some kind of job like that, not that my sister would allow me to sully myself with work as she is so generous with me.

While I was reading and drinking yet another cup of coffee – because they have fifty cent refills and why not take them up on that, yes? – I realized that humans have books on everything, so why not go ask if there were any on coffee. There were a lot!

Some were boring and only about the history of coffee and where it comes from and some story about dancing goats that I found preposterous (don't humans know a sater when the see one?!), I got around to reading a few books about how to brew coffee and there is a method called “pour-over” when you just pour hot water over the coffee grounds and it makes a single cup of coffee at a time, which would be a good thing for me.

How to make “pour-over” coffee:

Tea kettle – electric or the kind you heat on the stoveYou will need:

  • A coffee funnel – it's a difficult thing to describe, but it is like a conical hat sitting with the narrow end stuck in a plate. I am sure thee is some technical term for this item, but I cannot be bothed to find out what it is just yet, frankly. There is so much to get done!
  • Coffee filters – you can find these at most grocery stores it the coffee section. Get the number 2 cone filter. I did the reading because I have energy to.
  • Coffee, ground – there are many roast of coffee and some are light and some are dark and they all taste very different from each other, so you will want to try many of them to figure out what you like. The lighter roasts apparently have more caffeine with seems like an excellent idea to me.
  • A mug – choose a pretty one because they are more fun to drink from.
  • A cup to set the filter thingy on.
  • Cream and sugar if you want, I like my coffee with lots of cream and sugar.

This is luckily a lot like making tea, and I am happy because I have gotten very good at making tea.

Put the water on to boil (I recently acquired an electric kettle with stops heating water after it boils and doesn't make that terrible shrieking noise the stove-top one did).

Put a clean mug down on the counter and then set the cone filter holder thing on top of it with the wide part of the cone facing up, which makes the most sense. Make sure to put a filter inside of it before dumping in coffee.

This makes a big mess otherwise.

So put in the filter and then scoop one to two tbsps of ground coffee into the filter.

Wet grounds

When the water is done boiling, pour it in a thin steady stream over the coffee grounds, making sure to wet all of them and keeping the grounds evenly wet. This takes a couple of tries to get the hang of, but it is worth it for flavor.

Keep checking the mug beneath to make sure it does not overflow, because the brewing thing is not see-through and while you are concentrating on pouring the water evenly over the grounds. Were I still magic-having, I would merely float the filter thingy above the cup so I could see what was going on, but alas I must handle these things the hard way.

Flavor your coffee with as much sugar and cream or whatever that you like and enjoy. Once the cup is as full as you want, you'll want another mug or something nearby to rest the brew basket on while it finishes draining.

Then, go clean the house. Or write a blog. Or read all about how you can clean a living room like I am. (I will get this place clean enough for Ryan if it kills me!)

Mmmm coffee

(1,324 words)

 

 

Researching Cleaning Without Magic

The longer I have gone without talking to Ryan, the more I want to be near him, which is unexpected and lovely to feel here. I never imagined I might fall head over missing wingtips for a human boy.

But I really cannot have him over without cleaning more of my house. My Dear Sister is right, I am a deportable slob*, and I need to get my place cleaned so Ryan can come over and cook cow for me, and watch movies, and I need to know more about how to do things so I can inform my precious readers – I do feel that this is a good thing, my banishment, as it has enabled me to help others in my pursuit of knowledge.

But I am also reaching the end of my ability to find what I need to know on the internet. I need more knowledge.

So with the blessing** of my sister, I set off for a nearby resource, called a bookstore.***

Bookstores are intruding things! They are much like the great Essencian Library where all the scrolls are kept, only here you can buy the books, and there are plenty of copies of them. They have a little place where teas and coffees and snacks can be purchased, with tables to sit at while you read your books.

I loved it, though, it was of course hard to avoid the books on magic, I was strong and found myself the cleaning section first. There were so many books to choose from! I chose a small stack, trying to not look like a greedy scheirdlewiggens, then got a coffee, which humans are so very fond of (it is like very strong bitter tea and I had to add lots of milk and sugar but soon it had me nearly zipping about, and for the first time I am grateful that I do not have wings because they would be vibrating and beating about and I would be floating five feet above the table and unable to read the books.

So after I got my twitching under control for the most part, I opened the little notebook I bought there at the face and got to reading these books on cleaning.

My goodness, there is so much to learn. I read nearly all afternoon, and had a second cup of coffee and ate a cookie as large as my hand (I am still vibrating from the stimulation – I must discover how to brew coffee at home! It will assist my cleaning efforts greatly!!), I wrote many many notes about cleaning.

Though I find that I am torn. There is a woman who has a book on just about everything you can do in our out of a house – even keeping chickens! Imagine! – and her name is Martha Stewart. She knows so much and seems to do everything, and I feel that perhaps it is a misstep to follow her too closely, as surely she is using some kind of magical spells to keep up with herself.

I bought her book, one so big I had to carry it with two hands. I do hope the Great and Honorable Council will allow me to follow her advice, as it is meant for humans and though this Martha Stewart is undoubtedly Folk of some kind, she clearly is meant to seem human and give advice to humans.

I am so excited to get back to cleaning with the help of this book and my own experimentation, of course.

And coffee. I am looking forward to seeing what can be done under the influence of this magical incredible brew called coffee. With plenty of sugar and cream, of course.

*Though I fail to see the need for her to tell me every blessed time she comes over.

**And by blessing I mean a strict warning to stay away from any books about magic and to stick to the cleaning section.

***I hear there are libraries here as well, but none close enough for me to walk to, and I'll be hanged if I have to ask Flora to drive me somewhere so I can research how to not be a “dithering glib pixie with nothing in her head but mead and boys.”

 

How to clear weeds and grasses without magic

Since my triumph over the overgrown grasses of the front yard, I have been feeling quite pleased with myself. It is strange, but I do feel myself getting into the idea of a clean home, one that is cleared of excess things. Perhaps the human air is infecting me. I find that one clean room makes the rest seem very dirty and cluttered by comparison, and yards appear to be no different.

And the neighbor lady, of course, has been, shall we say, very outspoken about the issue.

So I have finally found the answer.

While I was watching some of that television thing that humans are so absorbed with – really, it is fascinating but becomes very confusing after a while because there are small segments in between sections of show that try and talk me into buying things – many of which I have never even discover a need for or know what to begin to think of. It is like every one of these little mini-shows about mops and insurance and dog food all involve some made up language that humans are grown to understand. I lack words to explain further if you have not experienced the same confusion. In any case, the result is that I generally will give up on the television and listen to my neighbors yell instead or run a bit of string about on the carpet and amuse The Cat. (Hopefully if I continue to provide her with amusement, she will consider me useful and continue to not eat me.)

But yes, I was watching some show about fixing up a very dirty house, hoping to glean some kind of knowledge about how to take care of mine, but the house they were showing was much more dirty and problematic than mine, and I ended up with only two forms of knowledge: One, there are pre-moistened wipe things you can buy to clean things. This seems most useful in places where those “microbes” and “germ” types of beings tend to hide. They are easily picked up by cloths, but then I do not know if merely washing the cloths will dissipate them or if they will only multiply in the wet environment. Cloths made to throw away would prevent my anxiety and also provide convenience. I will investigate this further the next time Flora take me to a large Everything Store (because they have everything in them).

Then, the second thing I thought of: you can pay people to do work. It's called a job, and people who are not “sponsored” with money from the Council or some other source have them to earn money with which to provide things they want and need. I thought maybe I could find some people to take up the weeds for me, and then I can learn by watching.

I have been asking around some, Flora did not know of anyone, but the old lady who lives on the other side of me from the Nosy Neighbors has a twenty seven year old grand son who has been kind enough to bring a friend by and they agreed to clean my yard for me in exchange for money. They even seemed excited about the prospect, which I think is endearing.

I am most pleased with the results. They left not an hour ago, and I am now looking around my house for any other jobs I do not want to do myself and would rather pay nice men to do for me.

It was raining quite a lot when they were in my yard, and there was much mud and leaves and things all over, but luckily I know how to sweep and mop quite well, at least in my kitchen, and so I did not mind them tracking things through that part of my house so they could eat the pizza I provided. Like any pixie, I believe it is important to pay any helpful being with food even if they are provided payment with money as well. It seems only correct.

To clear a yard of weeds:

You will need:

  • A yard that is full of weeds and grasses and things – I went through and made sure no magical creatures were hiding inside before the boys arrived.
  • Two men wiling to do work for money.
  • Work gloves for the men to wear
  • A case of beer
  • A large pizza covered in many cheeses and meats – this is a food I cannot quite understand, but it is a favorite of young men from what I gather, and you can order it simply by looking on the Internet and finding the nearest place who will deliver the food to you, hot and ready to consume. Most pizza services will even let you order online.
  • Money to pay them.
  • A chair
  • A glass of your favorite spirits.

They work for food and beer, much like pink flutters.

Direct the men to the yard and instruct them on what you would like done with all the plants. I discovered that hidden among the weeds were several flowering shrubs and things and even a few trees I did not want them to take up. Also, show them where to stack the refuse, as there will likely be quite a lot and it will need to be disposed of separately if possible. Give them gloves to wear in the garden in case they come across any biting wreskets you missed clearing the yard.

Leave them a few beers as an offering of hospitality and thanks. Then, go inside because it is starting to rain, and let them get to work. Put a chair by the window so you can watch the weeds disappear, and sip some liquor as you do, feeling happy about how clever you are and that you won't have to do the labor yourself. The men seem to be having fun pulling things up in the rain and mud. They are smiling, anyway.

Take them more beer, they are working very hard (wait until it is raining a little less if you are wearing anything that becomes see-through when wet). Wile you are outside, wave at the neighbor who told you your yard is a mess, indicating that you are doing what she wanted. Smile at her. Watch her turn away with that dismissive hair flip.

Go back inside and practice dismissively flipping your hair because it is so effective,

When they boys are nearly done with the yard, ask them what they like on their pizza. Then, go inside and order to – it takes approximately forty minutes to arrive, so time it's arrival to be convenient.

Once they boys are finished, invite them inside to eat. Make sure to hand them some towels, since they are probably muddy and wet from the rain.

Chat while they eat, and then thank them and pay them well, so they are inclined to return if more work is desired, send them with the rest of the beer and pizza as a thank you.

Look out at your yard and feel smug and happy that you have a nice, clear yard (apart from the pile of weeds, anyway).

Just for fun, wave again when you see the neighbor looking at your yard. Study her hair flip closely so you can go practice more.

Note: Sweep and mop the floor once the mud has dried. Mopping mud just makes more mud, so ensure that you sweep first.

Then, make new plans for another date with a human boy named Ryan. See if he wants to help you investigate cooking meat outside.

(1,212 words)

 

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)

 

How to Obtain Alcohol Without Magic

One of the things I have missed the most is mead and wine and alcohol in general. We pixies are very good at making spirits, it was we who sold the talent to the humans, after all, in exchange for them no longer being able to believe in us fully without some madness after a time. Skepticism has been a great advantage to the Fae Folk, and I am proud of my pixie heritage.

But I also know that humans have the knowledge of alcohol. I have not wanted to trouble Flora to tell me it is a silly thing to want – she really is too busy for me to bother her to scold me every time I have a question, really, and she is incapable of merely answering anything directly without constructive battleaxeing. I decided that I really needed more food and so went to visit that boy, Ryan, at the shop near my house.

He was very good looking in a blue shirt. I like how humans have just the few eye colors and yet such a variety. They get to have green or blue or brown or a kind of strange mix called hazel, but there a light kinds and dark kinds and Ryan has very dark blue eyes, and they look extra blue when he wears a blue shirt like he did today. I got more potatoes to cook, and some cream for The Cat, and we talked a little about the weather and things. He asked again if I had cooked the meat I bought before, and I had to explain that it is still frozen and I am still unsure of what to do. I accidentally let slip that I barely even understand what to do with clean laundry, and he said “Yeah, I barely can get mine hung up most of the time.” Hung up? Is that what the odd triangles in the closet are for? I did not ask this, however, because I do not want to be too odd. I nodded and agreed that I cannot seem to get them hung up either.

He told me he would like to try cooking for me. Soon. And he could bring over a bottle of wine.

Wine?

I asked him where one might procure spirits nearby, since this idea had not occurred to me. I always have had to go to Mister Figgelstills to get my brandy wine and mead, but the humans have created a whole store dedicated entirely to the purchase of alcohol.

I was marveling at the idea for a while and Ryan told me that in some states you can buy wine anywhere, even gas stations. I don’t really care where I would have to go, I was most excited to find out.

I did remember my manners and asked him if he was serious about coming over to help me. He said yes, and would next Wednesday be okay because he doen’t have to work Wednesday night or Thursday.* I blushed and then told him I would love to have him over, but to make sure and bring whatever he thought he would need, because I am hopeless at doing much in the kitchen yet beyond making potatoes, tea, and popping corn on the stove. He did not seem to mind that at all. In fact, I think he is excited I have taken him up on his offer.

Then I paid for my food and left before I could agree to anything else. That boy makes my head do strange things, and I feel all fuzzy inside and forget about how much I miss magic and the Realms and all kinds of other things.

I did find the magical Liquor Store he mentioned to me.

Oh, what a place! They have everything there! Mead and wine and honeyed bourbon and something called tequila and all sorts of fermented wheat bears. Now, I have to say life is wonderful as a Fae in the realms, magic and magical creatures make life a thing of beauty and simplicity and a pixie can have fun and flit about all day with not a care in the world. But this? These humans are really on to something. What an amazing place!

I wandered for nearly an hour up and down the isles and shelves, marveling over everything I saw, and I finally chose a couple of bottles of mead and a small bottle of some brown liquid called scotch, which surely was invented by the Scottish, who are excellent drinkers, and therefore must be an excellent liquor. I believe I have had some in an offering from time to time, but humans don’t exactly write down what they are giving the Folk every time they pour a glass for the invisible forces.

I walked home a very, very happy pixie.

 

How to obtain liquor.

You will need:

  • A liquor outlet
  • Proof that you are above the human age of 21 – An identification card or drivers license or passport. Luckily, I have been furnished with a magicked card and human identity, so I had no problem.
  • Money

Walk into your favorite or nearest liquor store.

Scan the shelves for what you would like to drink. Try not to drop anything, but if you do they are very kind to clean it up.

Thank the man mopping up what you just broke and ignore when he stares at your bosom.

Stand in the line of people buying their bottles, avoid dropping another of yours.

Present your intended purchases and your proof of age to the cashier.

Pay them the money they need in exchange for your spirits. Take your change.

Leave with your bag of bottles, happy.

 

Isn’t it just marvelous? No exchange of luck, no hexes or spells or obligations or favors. Just give them money, and obtain spirits.

Maybe humans are more clever than I have given them credit for.

*I do find the week day names to be most interesting. I wonder if most humans even realize anymore that they have named their days for the gods. Odin’s day is Wednesday, Thursday was once called Thor’s Day. Do they even know? Probably not, or else they might change it. I find the humans to be superstitious beyond reason sometimes.

(1,036 words)

 

Sweeping and Mopping Without Magic (part 2)

Welcome back. Yesterday I started with explaining how one goes about sweeping debris and collected foodstuffs from a human abode’s kitchen floor.

Now, the dry dirt is swept away and disposed of, moping is most necessary in order to make sure the floor is indeed actually clean, and certain prying sisters (who are “merely concerned and trying to be helpful”, or so I hear) do not comment about the state of things every time they come over and drop hints that our parents never really had any high hopes for me anyway.

But of course, to mop, one needs a mop. Which requires obtaining one from one of those awfully confusing and varied stores the humans flock to for all kinds of things from clothing to who-knows-what-humans-want to of course, cleaning supplies. This is also where I obtained the other necessary ingredients for obtaining a cleaned and habitable, and many that are most certainly unnecessary.

Because I am still under, shall we call it, house arrest, or what is commonly referred to as “intensive study of non-magical procedures”, and as I have said before, the Great and Wondrous Council have graced me with their “sponsorship” while I do this research. Of course, if you would like to help me find, shall we say, other work to spend my time on, then please contact your representative*. But yes, because of my house, er research stipulations, my dear and nonjudgemental sister Flora took me to this lovely and large store to obtain supplies, as I am not allowed off of my property without an overbearing chaperone kind and generous escort.

And here, friends I want to tell you to please not panic. There is much too much here to even begin to describe in full enough detail, but as to mops alone, there was an amazing array of choices, many of which we obsessed with avoiding using a bucket. This, I cannot understand, and even Flora was helpful for once and agreed with me – water gets everything else clean, so why the human obsession with not having to use any?

In any case, before I get ahead of myself, here is a brief account of the choices available:

There were at least ten differnet kinds of wands with which to clean the floor, all of them with a different kind of material at the end. These are all much like the brooms and mops used for magical purposes (and I remind the Council that I only wish to use them to clean the messy house they have so graciously bestowed upon my humble self**), only at the end of each one is a different material. Some have spounges that fold in half to wring out water, others have loops or bundles of strings to dip in water, others have a cumbersome looking handle which folds down to squeeze out water, but I cannot quite figure out how this is different than the other ones. And all of these different mops claim to be better than the others. There are even mops which do not need water, but instead shoot out a jet of fluid on front of a mositened pad.

This all seems like a great deal effort and thinking in order to simply clean off a floor, particularly when they all ammount to a cloth on the end of a stick.

So after a little bit of arguing with my dear sister, I decided upon a simple blue plastic bucket and one of those terrifically simple model of a wooden pole with white loops of cotton thread on the end. It reminds me slightly of the wand my old Aunt used to use to baste troll thighs while she cooked them over a blue flame*** (and we all know only blue flame can cook a troll thigh, and my do they need basting. Not nearly enough fat on those things).

Another issue was the soap. There are hundreds of kinds of soap, and I promise to write about this more in the future, because it is simply unfathomable that beings who live so much of their lives manually fighting dirt should make it so difficult for themselves. Most of these chemicals are incredibly toxic, particularly to the Folk, so Flora suggested I try vinegar, which is basically what happens when wine is left out too long. To hear my sister tell it, it is a miracle at cleansing all things, and no one has a cleaner sensibility about things than she, so I agreed to her suggestion. Plus, I am afraid of toxic chemicals.

*For the love of the Goddesses Great and Small, get me out of here!

**You are all can go suck on withered bat wings for all I care.

 

So now, without further ado, To Mop A Floor:

Updated list of tools:

  • A mop
  • A bucket
  • Vinegar, white or apple cider kind
  • An old towel (my contribution)

Start with sufficient hot water in the bucket, then add a good amount of vinegar. Probably half water and half vinegar is ideal. Make sure the floor is clear of things you do not want to get wet. (Actually, clearing the floor of extra things like laundry baskets full of towels waiting to be folded is best done before sweeping. I shall try to remember to annotate the previous article.)

Then, dip the stuff-at-the-end part of the mop into the vinegar and water, but not too deeply or the entire thing will become drenched. Again, starting in one area and working back, press the wet mop end against the floor and move in a back-and forth motion to scrub away the dirt. If your floor is like mine, you will have to repeat this procedure. A lot. You will also want to discard the mop water a it becomes colorful enough to be hard to see through. This is probably just spreading the dirt back around.

Refill the bucket with vinegar (or soap if you prefer) and water as often as needed, and eventually the floor will be the original color, at least for the most part.

Discard the rest of the water this time and rinse the mop. I chose to throw out the old water in the back yard weeds, and rinsed the mop in hose water, because I haven’t figured out how to clean a sink very well yet, and that seemed disasterous. The water from my kitchen was very, well, let’s just say I shall mop more often from now on.

Lastly, because I did not think of a good way to wring the mop out between the water and the floor, there was a good deal of puddles left in my kitchen, so I went into the “rag box” Flora gave me and found an old towel, then placed it on the floor, stood on it with my feet wide, and slid about the room to absorb the puddles. It was also great fun.

Probably, the floor should be cleaned regularly. I’d guess at least once per month, which I gather is about thirty sunsets. Probably twice or more, though, if you have a love of ginger ale as I do.

There, Council, you have sponsored the knowledge of how to clean a floor with you benevolence and helpfulness in helping my “research”. A world of domesticated, imprisoned fae thank you, I am sure.

So very sure.


(1,214 words)

 

Sweeping and Mopping Without Magic Part One: Sweeping

This bit of cleaning is rather involved, so I have broken it into two steps, though unless both are done in succession, the floor can hardly be called clean.

What you will need:

  • A broom – A bundle of plastic straws or straw or grasses held together at the end of a long stick, usually long enough to reach the floor from holding it while standing. Be careful that you do not choose a broom meant
  • A dust pan – This is basically a small plastic shovel, like used for gathering ashes from sacrificial incense ceremonies – oh, how I do miss the midnight sacrifices – only this dust pan is much larger, and it should be at least as big as the end bit of the broom, so it is easier to fill the pan.
  • A garbage can – This should have one of those plastic bags inside, and is just basically a large urn made of plastic or metal used for catching refuse for later disposal. We have something similar back home, but it is polite enough to eat whatever it is fed, instead of making me haul bags of trash all the way from the house. If anyone thinks of it, it might be a good idea to enchant those Fae refuse collectors to not eat everything – there was once a tragedy with my sister flora’s pet gremelkin. Oh, but that is a story for another time.

Because apparently I am exceptionally skilled in spilling things on the floor (there is a lovely beverage called ginger ale, which, although disappointingly lacking in alcohol, is quite sugary and has little bubbles in it, which is a bit like actual ale. It comes in small metal casks or one largeish and easily dropped plastic bottle. It nearly reminds me of the spiced mead you can find at Merryweather’s Inn, oh how very much I miss going in there for morning daisy flower scramble with fresh spider eggs and a cup of hot spiced mead. She strains it with spiders’ silk, you know, from those lovely creatures she keeps in those underground passageways beneath the inn. Some fae folk think that she keeps them down there to guard some great secret, but we all know that is preposterous. If anyone sees Merryweather, let her know I think fondly of her and her cooking, and ask her to keep a pot of truffle soup on for me.*

But yes, this ginger ale – it is very poor planning to design it to be served from such easily dropped containers, as it then expands greatly and bursts and fizzles out in a sticky fountain when the container is opened too soon after it is dropped. I have made this error many times, and now my shoes stick to the kitchen floor when I walk across it, and this is tiresome as I often find myself wandering to the kitchen for some of that lovely frozen milk called ice cream (also sticky after being spilled on the floor, or anything else). Back where I grew up, all a fae needed was to conjure a stickywiggle troll, and they would lick up anything you spilled faster than you could step onto sunlight, but alas I must do things as humans do.

All of this stickiness, (along with dirt tracked along the floor and the occasional bit of spilled or dropped food or potted plant, or tea leaves) has stuck to the spills and created quite a fantastic mess.

I can only imagine that other domesticate fae have similar problems as this. As far as I can tell, all human dwellings have floors (no wings and all that, though personally when I have my wings I am partial to living in hollow tree trunks). These floors have many different coverings, but today I am focusing on cleaning the kitchen, which is covered in something called linoleum tile, and is very water proof, so mopping is the thing to do.

But because I sneezed** while pouring a bowl of frosted corn flake cereal earlier in the day and spilled nearly the entire box onto the floor, sweeping is quite necessary first, as mopping straightaway created a gooey mess that slightly resembled melted skeske young (always sad when they don’t mature before the rain comes, isn’t it).

So yes, sweeping seems to be necessary before mopping.

*This is, in no way, a secret message to help me get out of here. At all.

**I have been doing this sneezing thing a lot lately. Because it is spring, the Internet believes that this is most likely allergies, and while I am disinclined to want to believe it, reality seems to be that I have developed allergies and will need to find ways of treating them to prevent future spillage of cereal and other things.

To sweep:

Take the broom (non-magical variety, of course) and hold it so the bristles brush against the ground firmly. It is probably smartest to start in one corner of the room and work out instead of starting in the center and wandering about as I did. I still have not found any tricks or secrets to this procedure, other than to use small strokes along the floor when there is a great deal of mess, and to use longer strokes when the bits of stuff and dust on the floor are farther apart.

Now, after leaving a good number of small piles to clean as I did, I might advise beginning the sweeping procedure in one corner, then proceeding to the rest of the room. It is up to you, if you have been cursed by a spiraling curse, you will find it easiest to begin in the middle, I imagine, and then you can move in circles outward. This is a most serious affliction, however, and until the spiraling patterns cease I recommend that you really ought to find someone to sweep and mop for you.

Anyway, sweep everything into a good pile, which in my case was a very good pile. Remember to resist munching from the cereal in the pile – while foraging for things in The Realms is not frowned upon, there are “microbes that cling to all things human-related, and I am unsure if they are able to infect Folk or not. Besides, it will taste of dust and hair, although I may try pouring ginger ale on cereal next time I have some.

Anyway, after this step comes the dust pan. Kneel down and sweep the pile into your dust pan. Perhaps there is a good trick to avoid this part, but if you want to get all the dust up, you have to keep moving back and sweeping more into the dust pan.

Then, turn to your garbage can (another post entirely, the care and tossing of garbage), then pour your waste into the garbage.

This ends the end of part one of cleaning floors. I must go – it turns out this television thing is a most intriguing thing, and if I continue blogging now I will miss a “show” about people who live in houses they never clean, all the way to the point of piles up the ceiling of all kinds of things. I imagine many a skeske is hiding in these places, to be sure. I like watching for the odd feeling of needing to clean it gives me. Tomorrow, I will continue with how to mop a floor.

Without magic, of course.

(1233 words)