Friday, May 30, 2014

Things that go together

1. The light and dark. Without one, we wouldn't be able to recognize the other.
2. Peanut butter and jelly. While either alone can be good, when put together in a sandwich they combine to create an interesting flavor.
3. Socks and shoes. Socks are soft and comfortable, and shoes protect your feet. Put them together, and you have comfortable foot protection!
4. Books and bookmarks. When reading a large novel, a bookmark is a wonderful companion. By using one, you eliminate the temptation to dogear the page!
5. Milk and cookies. Hard cookies go quite well with a cup of milk.
6. A hat and a head. Your head could get cold without a hat. Plus, hats are really cool.
7. Cats and a sunny spot. For a cat, many lazy afternoons are spent napping in the sunlight.
8. Hot chocolate and a storm. When the weather outside is bad, it is nice to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate.
9. Lemonade and a picnic. On a hot summer day, a cool meal and a sweet drink can be relaxing.
10. Thread and a tatting shuttle. Although it is possible to tat with just your fingers, a shuttle makes it easier and faster.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stand in the rain

Do you know how hard it is to enjoy the rain when even the tiniest drop of water can destroy you?
Yet here I was with my nose pressed against the cool window, staring out at the devastatingly beautiful storm.
As the embodiment of the first spark of fire, it was vital to the others of my kind that I never come in contact with water. For if I died, then so would all of the other embodiments of fire.
Yet I couldn't seem to keep away from storms. I loved the rain. The sight, smell, and sound of it called to me like a moth to the flame.
Often, I wondered what it would be like to stand in the rain.
But I had a duty to fulfill, and could not allow myself to be draw toward that watery flame.
The other embodiments of fire did not share my fascination for the storm. I could hear them in the background, grumbling about the weather and the delays that it caused.
Arms crossed on the windowsill, I released a sigh and lowed my head onto them. Closing my eyes, I listened to the sweet pitter-patter outside.
Perhaps in my dreams, I would be able to stand in the rain.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Useful Objects

1. A ball of thread. You can use a single strand for simple tasks, or braid multiple strands together to form a rope. And if you get bored, you could play cat's cradle or make a craft out of it.
2. Paper. There are a lot of ways to fold a piece of paper. You can also record thoughts on it, fan yourself on a hot day, and use it to shield your eyes from the sun.
3. Shoes. They protect your feet. Going on a five mile hike would hurt without a pair of them.
4. Glasses. When your vision becomes fuzzy, a good pair of glasses is wonderful.
5. A ruler. For some, it can be difficult to draw a straight line without one.
6. A rock. Great as a paperweight, doorstop, and as a pet that won't get into trouble!
7. A flashlight. When it's dark out, a source of light can be comforting.
8. Chairs. Sitting on a rock is alright in a pinch, but a comfortable chair is worth the time it takes to break it in.
9. A bag. Carrying around a bunch of stuff by hand can become tedious, not to mention difficult. A bag solves both of these problems.
10. An alarm clock. Waking up at the same time every day without one takes practice and a consistent routine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pepperoni pizza

"In a world where pizza only comes in pepperoni, one brave hero must defy all expectations in order to rescue the frog prince." A young girl proclaimed in her best deep narration voice. The girl's friend Colleen rolled her eyes.
"Why does that world only have pepperoni pizza?" Colleen asked, glancing up from her notebook.
"Because the dwarves were the ones to invent it, and have forbidden any of the other species from altering the recipe." The girl replied. "They even put a curse on it, so that if anyone tries to alter the recipe, they'll be turned to stone!" Colleen tilted her head and frowned.
"Whitney, you sure think of some odd things."
Balancing a pencil on her nose, Whitney grinned. "They're not my ideas. Qadir tells me all about these adventures every Tuesday."Pulling out her notebook, Whitney flipped through until she came to a drawing. "This is the best I could do, but that's him."
Colleen peered at the drawing, squinting at the stick figure for a moment. "Uh, that looks like a cat with wings."
Whitney looked at the drawing, then pointed at different parts of it. "Its supposed to be a little dragon. See, here are his wings, and he only has three horns. His wings are kind of small, but he's really quick."
Colleen scratched her ear, then shrugged. "Okay, so this dragon meets with you on Tuesdays to tell you about adventures? Wouldn't a dragon rather eat you?"
Whitney laughed. "Qadir isn't like other dragons. He really likes pizza, and is determined to become the greatest hero who ever lived!"
"Right," Colleen smiled a little as she gave a chuckle. Closing her notebook, she put it in her bag and stood up. "Well, I've got to head home. It was fun studying with you."
Whitney nodded, then her eyes widened. "Wait a minute, today is Tuesday!" Grinning, she clapped her hands. "Do you want to meet Qadir? I'm sure he'd love to meet you."
Colleen's smile grew as she shook her head. "Maybe next week. My mom is making meatloaf, and if I don't hurry home, then my brothers will eat it all."
Whitney nodded, then walked Colleen to the front door. Waving goodbye, Whitney waited until her friend disappeared around the corner. Then she ran to the backyard. Moving through the garden to the short, fat tree in the corner of the yard, Whitney sat below it.
"Were you able to rescue the frog prince?" She asked, tilting her head up.
Clinging to the trunk of the tree and hidden among the branches, a small green dragon gave a grin that revealed sharp teeth.
"Yes. Would you like to hear how?"
"Of course!" Whitney replied, returning the dragon's grin.
"It all began at the temple of Sand, where I had to fight a golem twice my size ..."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ways to have fun with friends

1. Start a bookclub. You could get the incentive to branch out of your preferred genre if you and your friends each take a turn to choose what book to read. In addition, you may find a new favorite novel this way.
2. Discuss your favorite stuff. It could be shows, movies, or rocks, but there is something enjoyable about talking with friends about things you like about what they like.
3. Play mini-golf. I think this works a little better with smaller groups, but playing a round of mini-golf can lead to many laughs, smiles, and cheers as a someone gets a hole-in-one or falls into a water hazard.
4. Go out for a snack. Food is wonderful, and almost always helps brighten any moment. In addition, it can be interesting to see what each of your friends like to eat.
5. Watch a movie. It can be really fun to watch a movie with friends. Sure, sometimes you'll end up laughing too much to catch the main character's dramatic dialogue, but that's okay.
6. Do nothing. There are moments when the most fun to be had is by simply enjoying a quiet moment with your friends.
7. Play childhood games. Be it red rover, hide and go seek, or mother may I, there are plenty of games from back when you were young that can still be a lot of fun to play with your friends.
8. Walk around. Walking can be a invigorating way to spend time with friends. It doesn't really matter where you walk or what you do while walking.
9. Cook a meal. Getting together with friends in a kitchen can be exciting. If one of your friends is amazing in the kitchen, then that is a great bonus. If they like to experiment with whatever they're making, then you may want to watch out ...
10. Make something together. If your group of friends is crafty, then you could make a patchwork quilt or scrapbooks. Don't worry if your group isn't very good at crafts, since there is still plenty of fun to be had in making mistakes as a group.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Dragon's prize, part three

How do you escape an underground labyrinth when the only source of light is impossible to move?
Crouched close to the egg-shaped orb, I could  feel the heat that it released. I wasn't sure how the stone was fuelled, nor how long its warmth and light would last. Turning my face to the darkness, I looked toward the tunnel that the dragon had disappeared down.
Fingering my shortened lock of hair, I listened for the dragon to return. After a few minutes, I turned back to the light and took stock of my supplies.
My small knife, a spare headscarf, a purse containing a handful of coins, and my water pouch. Not much to work with, but they would have to do. Returning the knife to its sheath and the purse to my belt, I tied the headscarf in place. It probably wouldn't be there for long once the dragon got back, but having my hair hidden did ease my nerves a little.
“The dragon won't like that.”
Twisting, I searched for the speaker as my heart beat against my chest. “Who are you?” I asked, getting to my feet and scanning the darkness.
“Who are you?” The voice seemed to echo through the cavern. “Why were you attacking the dragon?”
Hand tightening around my knife, I stared out into the darkness. “How do you know I wasn’t just randomly plucked from the ground?”
There was a laugh from my right. Focusing, I was able to make out a figure standing just outside the reach of the fire. “Young women don't usually go around dressed like a boy.”
My cheeks grew hot at the thought of how I must look. Although a few years younger then me, my brother and I were of similar height, and the loose pants and shirt I wore were his. They had been one of his precautions on fighting the dragon, since my usual skit would have given my gender away to the beast.
“Well, at least I don't laugh at a dragon's prisoner and hide in the dark.” I replied, placing a hand on my hip.
The figure shifted, but remained out of the light. “I have my reasons, girl.”
I tracked the figure as it circled the fire, keeping my hand on my knife the entire time. “Are you another prisoner of the dragon?”
The figure paused. “In a way.”
“Do you know the way out?” I asked, though I already guessed what the answer would be. The figure released a chuckle.
“Yes, but it won't do any good. The only safe way out is to fly.”
“That's not safe at all.” I shifted, then winced as my injuries from the dragon protested. I had been ignoring them, as there wasn't anything I could do for cuts on my back.
“You're hurt.” The figure said slowly.
“Dragon's have a tight grip.” I replied with a shake of my head.
“Let me help.”
“I'm not going to turn my back to a complete stranger.” I stared at the figure, fairly certain now that it was a young man.
“You may call me Voix. I have no intention of harming you.”
“Then let me see your face.” I waited, watching as the figure shifted further away from the light. Then slowly, he inched forward. A pale, bare foot entered the circle of light, followed by a leg covered by black cloth with a strange raised pattern. His shirt was made of the same material, and had no additional features. Wild, dark hair obscured his narrow eyes.
Staring at the lean boy for a moment, I finally swallowed and turned toward the light. “Very well, Voix. I accept your aid.”

Friday, May 9, 2014

For repetition

1. To improve your ability to perform that task. The more you do the same thing, the easier it will become.
2. In order to memorize something. Reading the same portion of a book or reciting pieces of a speech can help you to commit them to memory.
3. So that when a moment comes that you don't have time to think, you'll already know what to do and react accordingly.
4. So that you'll be able to cook something the exact same way. The more you use a particular recipe, the less you may need to actually follow the written recipe.
5. In order to build or break a habit. Habits need both consistency of action and time.
6. So that you'll be able to play your part on a team. When you are part of a team, everyone needs to know what their part is, and how their part blends with the parts of everyone else. That's one reason why teams gather for "practice".
7. In order to form a resonance. Be it in music, film, literature, or some other format, resonance is a powerful tool that your audience will respond to when it is used correctly.
8. Repetition is an excellent way of confirming an experiment's result.
9. As a way to focus your thoughts. Repeating yourself can on occasion help you figure out what step to take next on a project.
10. Sometimes doing something again and again can simply be fun.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Eldest

With the setting of the sun, there was nowhere left to hide.
"We'll make our stand here." The eldest among them said, sweeping back his leafy cloak. "I've faced this enemy before. The battle will be long, and there will be casualties. But they needn't come from our side!" As the ragtag band of misfits gave a cheer, the eldest turned to survey the plain to the east. The enemy would come from there, likely using the tall grass as cover.
His grip tightened around the shortsword at his belt, his fingers pressing against the unfamiliar hilt.
"Those were brave words." The words were soft. Turning, the eldest gazed into faded green eyes.
"They needed them." The eldest replied, turning away from the woman. "They're not warriors." He felt a hand touch his shoulder.
"Neither are you."
"But I'm the closest thing we have."
Out on the plain, there was movement from the grass.
"I see them!"
The cry echoed throughout the group, but the eldest did not move.
Rising from the grass before him was a gray creature. Slinking forward inch by inch, the two sets of antennae on its head were wiggling.
Searching for prey.
Drawing his sword, the eldest took a breath as he stared at the limbless creature. Then the eldest lifted his sword into the air.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Uses for barley

1. Stew.
2. As a substitute for rice.
3. Animal feed.
4. Bread.
5. In England, barley straw is used to reduce algal growth in ponds.
6. As an ingredient in malted milk.
7. In Scotland, barley has been used in porridge.
8. As a potted plant for your cat.
9. In a salad.
10. In a hash.