Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Kingdom of Ardenell

    It's time for the second Toe Row! This one happends to be a newer one (as in, about eight years ago), written by my oldest sister, Anna. She would always pitch a fit whenever we would be on a trip and ready to write our stories. "I'm no good, I tell you!" Would always be her complaint. But she is  good. Very good at that. This happends to be one of my favorite stories out of the Toe Rows folder, and I will be giving you more stories from Anna in the future. Except for "Big Red". I won't be sharing that one. :)  

Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you part one of, The Kingdom of Ardenell

“On the day after the eldest princess’ marriage, a coronation will be held, whereupon the King will relinquish his crown to the new ruler, his son-in-law.”

            There were many laws in the kingdom of Ardenell, but it is because of this one in particular we have story to tell.  Araunah was thrilled to be back home. Standing there in her stone observation tower just where the meadows gave way to the sandy shore, she could imagine she’d never been gone.
            “What do you think,  Retrevar? Has  anything at all changed since you and I stood here one year ago?”
            Retrevar gazed at the castle nestled among the hills just by their river that wound beside it. The castle faced the small bay the river emptied into and was beautiful with it’s white limestone walls and turrets glistening in the morning sun. He let his eyes follow the course of the river and the forests that are fully trailed along beside it. He then turned to the mouth of the river where four large Great Danes stood guarding it. His reverie was broken as Araunah rushed on not giving him time to respond.
            “I mean, look at the river- how I’m longing to go sailing on it- aren’t you, my own quiet friend?”
            “Oh, of course, my lady.” Retrevar quickly responded. He shook his long black, curly locks, enjoying the feel of the morning sun warming his body as he listened to his mistress, the Princess Araunah of Ardenell continue.
            “Truly, even the bay looks inviting this day.”
            On that point Retrevar could not agree. The jagged row of rocks staggerd with both underwater and open air caves had always reminded him of teeth…teeth much sharper than his own. They were staggered in such a way as to completely block any passage for a large ocean goeing vessel; indeed, many had met their doom on their storm sharpened stones. Besides, he could never forget what lived and fed there; nor indeed could any resident of Andenell. The Princess suddenly stopped her gay little speech as the sound of footsteps on the stone spiral staircase fell on both their ears. As a matter of long habit, Retrevar positioned himself between Araunah and the door. However, her was not at all surprised by the form that soon filled the doorway. Araunah ran to the arms of Petrar, her betrothed. They embraced warmly, feeling the long year of separation melt away.
            Soon, they were telling each their experiences and lessons they had learned. Araunah had spent her year in the mountains far away learning of the ancient art of healing. Petrar had traveled the Kingdom seeking to know better how to serve and to comprehend the needs of all from the lordly Canine who guarded the borders. Such was the custom in Ardenell. Each new royal was to spend a year apart preparing themselves for taking the crown and all magical power related to it.
            “The Kingdom is happy. None of the creatures are in need of any kind. Your father has completed the task with honor. Still, though, everyone is anticipating the change. You know yourself, Araunah, how vibrant the Kingdom feels after the crown is placed on a young head.”
            “I am happier than I’ve ever been and only need on thing more to make this day complete.” Said Araunah. “A race.
            “You know you never win, but if it pleases you so much to have me the victor once again, I will gladly challenge you.”
            Turning to Retrevar Araunah said, “You know Petrar will keep me safe. Go- go home to your family and you can return to me as sunset.
            Bowing low, Retrevar turned and trotted gently down the stone stairwell. Retrevar was looking forward to seeing his family again. His mate Genera was of noble blood herself and had been a royal guard herself before starting a home and family with him. The pups- well, they wouldn’t be pups any more- soon they’d be fully grown. He would need to begin teaching them…though no doubt Genera had already started telling them the way of the canines. She had probably started telling them how their sole purpose in life was to serve the King of Ardenell. The safety both of their outer borders and inner fields and forests was the responsibility of the canines. It was because of this great burden first kingof Ardenell had granted all breeds of the canines the gift of speech.
            Retrevar picked up his pace- he couldn’t wait to hear what his pups sounded like.

The end of part one! It's a pretty long short I will give you the next part as soon as I can! The Infinity Braid will be the next hair tutorial! Look for it next Saturday!

<3 Clara


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Fishtail Braid, and My Very First Toe Row

     It is time for my very first hair tutorial, and my first Toe Row!!! The fishtail braid is a cute, pretty way to fix your hair when you're in a rush; and it's one of my very favorite braids. So here's the video...enjoy!

(scroll down to see my first Toe Row...and to find out what a Toe Row is!)


     The Toe Row. My Daddy has always been coming up with names for different things. WHACKY names at that. When we would go camping, we (meaning the kids) would always beg him for one of his stories. He would tell us tons of creepy stories in the tent at night about Captain Jim Straider and his scaredy-cat sidekick, Jonathan. They would battle all sort of things...from Old Man Jessab's flying pumpkins to Doctor Lizardo's mutating leeches. Anyway, Daddy always called those stories Toe Rows. The name stuck and pretty soon, when we would be on the long drive to whatever state park we were camping at, we (again: meaning the kids) would bring notebooks and pens and all write our own Toe Rows.
     When we were done with them, we would pass them up front to my Mom and she would read them out loud and judge whose was best. We still have every single one of them ever written (trust me, there are ALOT), so I decided to share with you my very first one. Everything is spelled just the way I wrote it at the time, and I will give ya'll the date and my age.

March 28, 2003 - 7 years old

                                                   The Octopis

Now this is a troo story but I'm to tell you it. Down in the deep an octopis lie. Now a litle girl went in deep and never cam back. That story has ben around a long time I haft to go now by.


Perhaps it isn't the best thing I have ever written, but it's still pretty funny! I will be posting more Toe Rows that my siblings and I have written over the course of our many camping trips. I hope you enjoy them. Some are really good...and others...well, not so much.

I hope ya'll enjoyed this post, and come back to my blog next weekend! I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a while, but I have been crazy busy with school and lots of other things.

Well, I haft to go now by! ;)

<3 Clara

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Brother's Short Story

     My brother (Ian) and I  were bored one day and decided to have some short story fun.  On a sheet of paper we each wrote a title, a quote, a character, and a setting or time period.  Then we exchanged papers and started writing a short story based on what each other had written.  It was so much fun!  Ian has finished his, so I am posting it.  Here were his stipulations that I gave him:

Title: Hallow

Quote: "Yes, I'm bored.  My entertainment will be you tonight.  So go ahead.  Start entertaining me."

Character: Hal - a bored ghost

Setting: A modern day Halloween party


  I never liked parties.  Why I came to this one I don’t know, yet here I am.  Once again I am all alone surrounded by many familiar faces all looking at him or her but not me.  Maybe it is my fault.  Maybe it isn’t.  I don’t care.  I am not a people person.  I should have come as a ghost rather than a freaky clown.  I might as well be a ghost. 

  “I am bored, are you?”

It takes me a while to realize he is talking to me, so I don’t respond right away.  Finally I realize his eyes are locked on mine.  “Yes, I am bored.”  That is all I say.  That is all I have said the entire party.  Oh, and I said excuse me when I stepped on batman’s cape.

  “Do you know anyone here?”

  Yep, his eyes are still locked on mine.  “Uh…I know everyone, just about.  You wouldn’t think it though.  I know.  My best friend moved out of state last month.  Its been just me since then.  Me and Dad, but Dad can’t come to parties.”  Wow.  Why did I tell him all that?  Maybe it is his eyes.  They are so honest and green. Very green.  I decide it’s my turn for a question.  “So you are bored?”

  “Yes, I’m bored. My entertainment will be you tonight. So go ahead. Start entertaining me.”

  I sit up straighter in my uncomfortable chair.  That was a weird comment.  Oh, I remember now.  I am a clown.  I don’t do the witch, vampire, or princess thing.  “I can’t juggle if that is what you want.”

  “That is too bad. It might have livened things up a bit.”  He smirks.

I look away from his eyes for the first time.  He looks to be my age.  He must have come as a business man or banker.  He has a briefcase in one hand.  His light brown hair is slicked back and shining in the dim lights of the room.  He is wearing a gray tweed suit and green paisley tie.  I look back into his eyes. “What did you come as?”

  He opens his mouth as if to tell me but hesitates.  Then he says, “I am Hal a ghost.”

  “Well, Hal, I am Ruthie a clown in case you can’t tell.”  I hold my hands out to the side as if that would help him. I almost ask why he thinks a suit, briefcase and tie makes him a ghost, but decide I have seen worse costumes. I ask something else entirely.  “You are new here aren’t you?  Will you be transferring to our school?”

  “I am not new.  I…uh…am home schooled.  I was invited here, so I decided to come.  I love this old house.”

  I look around the room.  “Yes, since they fixed up the place, it is a lot more inviting and less creepy.”

  “It never gave me the creeps.” His voice slowly fades.  “It had its own beauty.”

  Oh great.  Here she comes.  No matter what or who she dresses as, every Halloween she always looks like Barbie.  I force myself to look happy.  “Hi, Emma.”

  “Ruthie! Hey, girlfriend!  Look at you.  You’re a clown, and look at you.” She turns to Hal, “you must have come as a…a…cutie pie!”  She starts what I call the Emma cackle.  Yeah, she should have come as a witch.  Hal cuts her cackles short, thank heavens.

  “And what have you come as?”  He looks her up and down.  I am having trouble deciding too.  She is wearing a skin tight short green dress with green high heels and that’s it.

  “Why, I am tinker bell of the ball!  Oh and look we match!”  She jerks Hal by his tie and pulls him away from my side to hold the tie up to her dress. “Susan!” she yells louder, “Susan! I swear. I think that girl is deaf.  She is gonna take a pic of you and me matchy green or my name aint Emma.  I will be right back, cutie pie.”  She flies off faster than a fairy leaving me and Hal alone again.  I look at my phone. 

  “My goodness!” I say, “I thought it was like twelve, but its almost one thirty.”

  “No, I got here right at twelve.”

  “Oh, so what have you been doing for the past hour and a half?” I say as I slip my phone back into my purse.

  He sits down in a chair exactly like mine and crosses his legs at the ankles, “I was talking to another clown.  His name is Joe.”

  “Oh. Joe Blake?  Yeah, I don’t know him that well.  He just moved here like three months ago.”

  “Well, he seems to know everything about you.”


  “Yeah, he couldn’t stop talking about you.”  I look down at my feet.  So that is why Hal is talking to me.  Was he sent by Joe?  I have to find out.

  “Did Joe ask you to come talk to me?”

  “No.  I just noticed the two lonely clowns and thought it was a sad scene.”

  I clear my throat.  “That’s the story of my life…one long sad scene.”  There I go doing it again…telling a total stranger my personal feelings. 

  “At school, he heard you tell someone you were going to be a clown.”

I look into his green eyes again.  “And that is why he is a clown tonight?  He wanted to match?”  I am shocked but flattered.  Now that I think about Joe, he has acted odd lately. Holding doors open for me.  Attempting to start conversations about things that don’t make sense.  I do need a friend.  Why not Joe?

  “Speaking of matching if you want to escape before miss matchy green comes back, I suggest you go to him now, he is out back by the fountain.”

  That does it.  He is being too pushy.  Something is up.  “Follow me.”  I say with irritation rich in my voice.  I walk rather quickly, for cackles seem to be getting louder every second.  Even the noise of the party is not drowning them out.  I walk to the staircase and begin my descent when I turn to look behind me.  That is odd.  I could have sworn I heard Hal behind me.  Even now I can feel…no I can’t.  I need fresh air.  No I am not going to the fountain.  Ok, yes I am.

  The moon is full illuminating every newly formed dew drop in the rose garden.  From a distance each drop combines to form what appears to be stardust.  I wonder if other people take time to notice beauty around them.

  “It’s beautiful isn’t it.”  Joe’s voice is almost a whisper.  He must be reading my thoughts.  Why can people always tell what I am thinking?

  “Yes, it is.” I reply.  I am nervous.  I don’t know why, but I guess it has to do with a total stranger telling me the new guy in town likes me.  And now the new guy is whispering to me in a dark rose garden behind a renovated creepy house.  I take in a deep breath thinking of something to say.  He breaks the silence first.

  “So…I see you came as a clown.  That’s funny that we both did that.” 

  Good grief.  He sounds like he rehearsed every word a million times.  How pathetic.  I respond with, “What a coincidence, especially since you heard me tell someone what I was going to wear.”  Ha.  The look on his face is priceless.  Then, I start to feel sorry for him, especially when I notice that his hands are trembling. 

  “Oh.  So he told you, did he?  Well, I suppose you think I am a dweeb for not speaking to you before now.  I am just not that great at, well, talking…especially with girls.”

  What is it with me and guys eyes?  I seem fixated on them tonight.  Joe’s eyes are icy blue.  I clear my throat.  “I don’t think you are a dweeb.  I understand the whole nervous thing.  I get that way too.”  I can’t think of anything else to say so we stand there listening to the crickets for a while.

  “Did you know we are standing on hallowed ground?” He asks and then his eyebrows stay raised as he focuses on me waiting for a reply.

  “No, why?”

  “Well,” he begins, “I just know that the original owners of the house had a son around our age that went missing.  He probably just ran off, but his parents had a funeral service and a little shrine erected right over there in his memory.”

  My curiosity is roused and I walk over to the small stone square on the ground.  I brush away a few strands of ivy to read the etched words.

To die:—to sleep:
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished

  “It’s Shakespeare.”  Joe says, “It’s from Hamlet.”

  I turn my gaze from the tablet back to Joe.  “You know your shakespeare.  I couldn’t have told you where that came from if my life depended on it.”  I pause contemplating the words.  They intrigue me more than the fact that Joe knows a random quote from Hamlet.  “What a strange epitaph for parents to leave for a missing son.”

  Joe clears his throat.  “Well, I uh was just told that it was from Hamlet.  Hal told me.  Yeah, it is strange.”  We both stare at it for a while then Joe speaks again.  “Its like his parents meant he wished to die.” 

  I am not thinking that.  I am focusing on the last phrase.  Devoutly to be wished.  “That last phrase is present tense or future tense or whatever.  You know what I mean?  Like he is wishing.  Not that he wished.”   I let out a sigh.  I am tired and feel strange.  It has been a weird evening.  I knew I shouldn’t have come.  I always leave parties more discontent with life than before I go to them.

  “You’re ready to go aren’t you?”  There he goes reading my thoughts again.

  “Yes, I am.”

  “Well, I will walk you to your car.”

  I walk by his side.  He starts up a conversation about his dog that is missing its ears.  I laugh and he talks some more.  It’s a long walk and I find out he hates Emma.  I decide I like him.  It isn’t just because he dislikes Emma that I like him.  No, there is a kindness that exudes from him.  Something clicks between us.  I have heard someone use that click word before but never experienced it for myself.  Someone was right.

  “You should come to the cafĂ© where I work sometime and I will pay for your lunch.”  He opens the door of my car, and I get in.

  “Thanks, Joe, I just might do that.” I smile as I start the engine up and begin to  pull down the long gravel drive.

  At the end of the driveway just outside the gate on the right is a little stone bench, and there sits Hal.  I had almost forgotten about him.  I probably wouldn’t have even seen Joe if it hadn’t been for Hal.  I role down the right window of my car.  “Goodnight, Hal.  It was nice meeting you.” 

  “Goodnight.  I am glad you are no longer a sad clown.”  I smirk and wave goodbye as I role the window back up.  What a strange person.  I cant help but watch him in my rearview mirror as I drive down the street.  It is a sad scene.  Then I remember his vivid green eyes, and I want to see them again.  I hope I see them again.  
Isn't he an amazing writer??? I love him so much...
<3 Clara