Writing exercise: Sing

Eiry was busy washing dishes on a bright Saturday morning, humming a tune as spring sunlight streamed promisingly through the windows into the kitchen. Alta’s little bowl still had drippings yolk in it from their poached eggs, though all the bacon and rice was gone.

“What are we doing today, ana?” the child asked from the doorway. She’d changed her clothes again into a shift-like dress with a watercolor flower pattern on it.

“Well, once we’re finished packing, we’re going to go to the Inn.”

“To play?”

“Yes, and we’re going to help in the gardens a bit.”

“Are they pretty now?”

“Yes, they are. Do you know where your bag is?”

“On the chair.”

“Why don’t you go pack it, sweetie.”

“Ok!”

Eiry finished up the last of the dishes, leaving them in the rack to dry and cleaning up the counter. Then she went to pack up some of Alta’s toys, books, and diaper bag before checking on her. She could hear her, though, singing the song she’d been humming earlier. She hadn’t realized she knew the words.

“Do I think the words when I hum, apa?”

“Mhm! Every time,” she said with  a smile. “It’s pretty. Is this okay?” She held open the bag, in which she’d put her favorite best dress and about five shifts.

“Yes, but if you wear the dress you can’t play rough.”

“Ok. Do we need to pack for daddy?”

“No, he has his things.”

“Okay…so we can go?”

“I think so.”

Once they had everything and Eiry had locked the door. Alta reached for her hand as they headed toward the elevator. “Can we sing it together?”

“Sure.”

Alta launched right into it, her voice soft and light. Eiry’d stopped wondering by now where that voice had come from, and sang so as not to overpower it. Guyver’d always said they sounded very pretty together, and that mattered far more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Quick Week Day Recipe

I’m always looking for something to make for dinner during the week. Something quick easy, and yes, most likely modified from a box. Shmancy, from scratch cooking is for weekends only when you get home from work after 6:30 most days. So last night (yes, a Sunday, I know), DH wanted to have the hotdogs he’d gotten on sale, and I was looking at pasta. So he says “What about mac and cheese with the hotdogs in it?” And that sounded good.

Now, DH will eat a hotdog cooked in various fashion, and particularly likes to boil them. I, on the other hand, am much more picky. I like them cooked in a pan with butter. Sometimes water, but always butter. And it turned out so delicious, because I used the real butter. Yum.

I’m having the last of it for lunch right now, and it’s already gone. Definitely want to make this again. Can you tell I’m the type of likes to eat something good until it’s gone? All in a day or two, that’s me. Then I find something else to fixate on. But that’s beside the point. Recipe below.

 

Ingredients

  • 6–8 hot dogs
  • 2 regular boxes of macaroni and cheese, preferably a cheap kind
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2–3 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1–2 handfuls shredded pizza cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk and butter as called for on mac n cheese box

Method

Cook pasta from mac n cheese boxes in water. Meanwhile, sweat onions in some butter in a large pan. Slice hot dogs and add to onions, along with a little more butter. Saute until cooked to desired doneness. When pasta is cooked and drained, add to onions and hotdogs. Add butter, milk, and cheese packets from boxes. Stir to combine. Add sour cream and pizza cheese, and blend in. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Writing exercise: Misplaced

“Do you think she could have been misplaced?” Yumiko asked, peering down at the small sleeping form in the box. They’d gathered in the work room in consternation, wondering.

“Not from the message that came with her, it was astral,” Eiry said.

“Oh! Well, who could have done it?”

“No one that we’re aware,” Edar said from the nearby stool. “You were here, Richard, did it feel hostile?”

“I..well-” he broke off a minute. “I don’t really know, I didn’t know anything was going on until Eiry said something. What I felt was probably just me, or what I felt from her.”

“Well, it was really scary.”

There didn’t seem to be much to say after that, and they all just stared at the baby for a while, wondering what would happen. Would someone come looking for her? Should they take her down to the police station? Surely she’d change…a pack, maybe, so the speaker network could ask?

And yet, Eiry was fairly certain that there wouldn’t be anyone looking. And that voice in her head surely didn’t think the baby was simply “misplaced.”

 

Writing exercise: Stairway

There’s a stairway at the back of the house that no one uses. I don’t know why. The others either don’t know or won’t tell me, I’m not sure which. Everyone walks by it as if it’s not there. The lights work just like anywhere else, and I’ve never heard any noise or felt anything strange there.

It’s white, with a banister of light-colored wood. There is a window a third of the way  up. The light streams through the window, no matter where the sun is in the sky. It never seems dirty or dusty, even I’ve never seen anyone clean it. It’s always full of light, and on very sunny days, almost dazzling to look at.

That’s how it was the first day I came here, and something about it made me stop and just look at it. I’m not sure how long it was when Miss Matthews asked me if I was lost. Perhaps maybe I was, because I can’t get that staircase out of my mind.

Writing exercise: Beach

It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, and the wind had kicked up a bit since running around in the surf that afternoon. They’d wondered away from Nate’s family in a bit of fun, chasing each other down the beach in an ice cream fueled game of tag. Close to the old pier, it stretched out into the bay, and he reached for her hand with an inviting smile. A glance back showed her they were mostly unobserved, and she darted after him under the wooden structure.

It was a bit cooler there, and without the wind he took the liberty of letting her hair loose from the low ponytail at the nape of her neck. His hand was still in her hair as he leaned forward to kiss her, much more aggressively than in front of the others. The cool taste of mint on his tongue made her shiver in his arms, and he opened an eye to make sure she was okay. He needn’t have worried; she was as into him as he was her, he thought with a chuckle.

“What?” she asked, between kisses.

“Nothing,” he murmured, pulling her closer. They couldn’t expect to get much time to themselves, after all.

 

 

 

Note: This is a part of Eiry’s stories, which has been in my head for a while, but not written. The beach prompt brought it to mind.

Writing exercise: Faraway

The forest of Faraway lies along the borders of several kingdoms, although none more important than the lands of Ambergelder and Phantasmorania. While the story of Princess Amy is the  most well-known of the tales from this region, the forest holds many others, yet untold in most kingdoms. The chiefest of these, of course, is the tale of the two travelers. Like Amy, they sought refuge in Faraway. But what they found there turned out to be quite different.

Forests like Faraway are much more alive than smaller, newer ones. It allows far fewer people within, keeping it’s inhabitants to animals and members of the fair folk and other such magical beings. Such magic rubs off, and far before Princess Amy first ran into its borders as a child, the vast network of trees was aware.  In most people, the aware-ness provokes feelings of warning, uncertainty, and danger. But there are those who don’t heed it, and such people always return with stories to tell.

 

 

Note: This exercise is based on The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kay. “Faraway” immediately brought to mind the forest of Faraway in this story, which I have loved and read for many years. It wasn’t until today that I thought of all the other stories that may have taken place there.