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.”

 

A Date With A Human

I do not even know how to begin about the night. By all the goddesses on all the moons, I am a happy pixie, but then I am also a happy human girl and yet I am very torn between the two.

Movies are marvelous things. More marvelous than the liquor store or dandelion wine and fresh sugared daisies. Especially when you are cuddled against a handsome and good-smelling human man while you watch them.

Which he did give me, after all, daisies. In a little bouquet. He said he noticed that I buy them every time I come to the store and so I must like them. I have refrained from eating them so far, in fact I am staring at them now, sitting in a little jar filled with water and sitting on the corner of the desk I use for my computer work.

But I suppose I ought to start from the beginning, yes? Yes I believe I ought.

I was nearly late for how often I changed how I looked. I consulted several sources on the Internet and determined that a movie did not require any sort of formal attire, but I did not want to wear anything he had seen me in before and I wanted to look nicer than usual because I want him to know that this was a special thing for me to do. I even combed my hair and put it up on the back of my head, then put on the funny face paints and powders the way the magazines I have read told me to do.

I must say that before I left, I looked very pretty.

For a human, anyway.

He was leaning against the little black vehicle just outside of his work. I was wearing a little rose petal colored dress that brushes my knees when I walk and he stood up and said that it was very pretty. He wore jeans and a jacket over a blue shirt – I wondered if he did that because I told him that his eyes look pretty when he wears blue.

He opened the door of his car for me, which my reach has told me is a very manly gesture, and then he got in and smiled at me, and looked as nervous and excited as I felt and then we drove off.

We talked a little on the way to the the theater, me mostly about how I have never seen a movie in a theater, though I did manage to omit the story I have about how I used to hang around theater stages and blow out the candles they used to light the stage as a prank.

I do not believe I am allowed to talk about being a pixie in human form. That was something they did not actually address in my “de-briefing,” perhaps because it is so obvious. Someone should tell the Council that the obvious is not always so easy to define.

We got to the movie theater, and he walked around and opened my door for me, and even took my hand to help me stand up. I know I turned red just like when I was talking to him on the phone, so I looked down and smiled, hoping to hide. He kept ahold of my hand and led me into the theater and we bought tickets for some romantic movie he thought I might like.

Which I did. But what I liked even better was the big bucket of salty popcorn we got. (He could not believe I had never tried it before, and seemed to very much enjoy watching my first taste of it.) If you have not had this be fore, it is dried corn kernels that are heated up until they burst open into a fluffy little crispy ball and then the popped kernels are covered in butter and salt. It is amazing.

We also got a couple of the bubbly and sweet drinks humans like to have stashed everywhere, and went into the theater. It is a big room full of seats all facing the screen, just like in a normal theater, and it is dark. We sat down away from the few other people in the room and chatted some about food and some other things while we waited for the movie to start, and he actually told me that if I like popcorn so much, it is possible to make on the stove, and he told me how. I will be trying it as soon as I am able because I really do like popped corn. Between the two of us eating from both enjoyment and nervousness (I eat when I am flustered at least) we were done with it when the move started.

The lights went down and there were several “pre-views” and then the theater went utterly dark for a minute, and in that time, just quiet and quick as could be he kissed my cheek.

It was very hard to pay much attention to the movie after that, but I did like it a lot. I especially liked the bits where the characters kissed, but those distracted me even more because he had his arm around me and all I could think about was what it might be like to kiss him.

After the movie, we walked to a nearby ice cream store (called a parlor) and he ordered me a cone. He even thought to ask me if I had eaten much ice cream, probably because of how my eyes got all wide when I stared at the long case filled with more favors than I even imagined existed in the world, and he ordered for me, on a sugar cone, which is a flat piece of flour and sugar rolled out and cooked into a cone shape, then the ball of ice cream is set on top. This gave me something to do, which helped me relax, because to eat the ice cream this way you hold it by the cone and lick the ice cream, taking care to keep up with it melting. We strolled through the rows of shops and ate and talked some, and I found out that he grew up in some other place called Cincinatti, and that he has a sister, though I am sure his sister isn’t awful like mine, and that he is twenty nine, and he wants to go to school to be a teacher but doesn’t have the money for that yet, but he is staying with his father here in town to save up.

Then he asked about me, so I told him my cover story – the one where I am the troubled child of the family, and so my benevolent sister has decided to put me in a house she owns and she pays me to take care of the place and fix it up. He I’d he thinks I am probably more sheltered than trouble.

If only he knew what kind of trouble I have gotten myself in. I wanted to tell him, I thought the whole predicament might even make him laugh. Normally I am not so awkward around males, I mean, I’m no virgin pixie – I have as much of a thing for handsome elves as my sister does, but this is the first human I have ever had feelings for. And i am awkward because I do not know human courting rituals (I am disinclined to believe the depictions on television), and there is so much I cannot talk about. It all adds up to awkwardness.

But Ryan is very good at putting me at ease. He drove me back and dropped me off in front of my house, and even walked me to the door. (I noticed the neighbors, both of them, the nosy ones, watched us from their window.) I told him he could come to the door but not inside because I have not learned to clean a living room yet.

That made him laugh. I like it when he laughs.

We stopped on my front step and he told me i’m not like anyone else he knows, which is not surprising because he probably doesn’t know any other imprisoned pixies, or if he does they are probably better socialized than I am.

I started to say something back, but then he kissed me, this time on the lips. I have never kissed a human boy before, but this was far beyond my expectations for what it could be like. Far beyond.

It made me sorry indeed I did not feel comfortable with my house enough to drag him inside and continue.

He seemed equally sorry. Eventually, he pulled away and told me to go learn to clean a living room and fast. And to clean the bedroom too, if that was an issue.

I blushed and agreed. And promised to come by the shop first thing in the morning to get what I would need to pop corn, and then we could talk about when he will come and make me dead cow to eat.

He reminded me that is called “beef,” then he kissed me again and left.

I have no idea how I will be able to sleep tonight. All I can think about is Ryan – I have not been this enchanted with anyone since I was a teenage pixie full of hormones.

I will be much more motivated to clean my home now.

(1,572 words)

 

I Have Been Asked on a Date!

I was bored today, despite the abundance of things to be done around my house, and so I decided to use the number Ryan gave me a try. He answered, and I nearly jumped from my human skin when I heard his voice, then I got all flushed – I have a big mirror on the door of my closet and I was sitting on my bed when I talked to him, and I could watch my face go from pretty and pale to absolutely flushed red when he answered the phone.

I stuttered a few times, actually quite a lot, and so he finally guessed it was me, and I could say “yes” at least.

He said that he was glad I called because he had been thinking about me, and that it was his day off.

Did I want to go to a movie with him?

I did my best to say yes quickly so he wouldn’t think I didn’t want to, though I think I stared into my human reflection for a long time, being stunned and terrified. But I do want to go somewhere with him and he is such nice conversation at least when there are groceries to talk about.

But what could I find to talk about when there was not food to discuss and when I could not simply buy my things and flee when I was awkward and unsure of what to do next?

Then, I realized I had said all of this out loud, and that Ryan was laughing very hard.

I thought I might die. It was a very interesting feeling of being ill and thinking I could melt into a puddle if only I could convince myself to not be solid anymore. I turned even more red then pale and decided I wasn’t doing myself any favors by looking at the mirror.

Flora has always said that I have no barrier between my mouth and my mind. Now I am wishing I’d let her hex me with a silence spell when we got in a fight years ago over something I said to her husband (now ex-husband)* at a spring festival when I had a few too many sips from the liquor offerings the village had left out for us.

I was quiet on the phone for a minute, trying to think of what else I could say, but Ryan was very nice and helped me. He said that part of the reason to see a movie is because then we won’t have to think of much to talk about and we will be in a dark theater and then if we aren’t sick of each other he will buy me ice cream and we can talk about the movie.

I have only had ice cream once when I stole some from a child in exchange for finding him a four-leaved clover. It was amazing, and I had nearly forgotten it.

I made a few squeaking noises from my throat that he seemed to understand was me accepting his offer. He told me to meet him at his work at seven, and then he would drive me to the theater.

I instantly called Flora, who is my Council Appointed Representative to request permission.

She said she was very happy I could find a young man to court me so soon living in the human world and did he have anything wrong with him to make him think it was a good idea to go out with me? I told her to shove it and give me permission, which she did, though rather curtly, and she told me to get home by midnight.

I asked if I would turn into a pumpkin if I did not, and she hung up the phone.

I won’t press my luck, though. We probably won’t be out all that late.

Now, I must go figure out what to wear. Oh, this is so very exciting! And frightening. I have never been to a movie before, unless you count watching the few on the television services and such, but I am totally unsure of the procedure, and I know no one who could tell me. Ryan seems to be able to tell I am not wordly, so I want to believe he will not think I am too odd after all, but what if he doesn’t like me? What if I do something wrong at the movie? Am I supposed to just sit there? What do I do? What if he tries to hold my hand?

I wish someone out there would write a guide on how to go on a first date with a human boy. I am so nervous! Should I take I’m flowers? If he gives me flowers should I eat them right away or wait until I get home? Should I share them with him if I eat them?

Wait. Humans don’t eat flowers. I remember that.

Except those artichoke things. I would like to try those. I wonder if Ryan knows what they are and how to cook them. Oh good, at least now I have something to talk about. And for now, if he gives me flowers, I shall refrain from eating them until I know if it is normal. I must try to be normal and not frighten him away.

Wish me luck!

 

*I still maintain that is is not my fault that he left her, and I only asked him if he knew about the troll she dated before they got married because I was trying to track him down for a story I was doing about dating someone who is already engaged to someone else. I had tried asking Flora if she knew where he was, and she didn’t want to say, so I thought I would ask her husband. I might have been a little tactless in the manner I asked, but I maintain that he overreacted by calling his divorce godmother right then. There was no reason for me telling him Flora cheated on him with a troll to end anything – I mean, other than the fact that she was still seeing the troll a couple of times a year. It was so blatant, I just assumed her husband must know and be okay with it.

(1,038 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)