Month: December 2015

Another Quaint Midgardian Inn, Part II: The Human Female and I Annoy One Another

Sharing the close quarters of an inn room with the human female brings out the worst of both of us.  I accompanied her to breakfast yesterday.  I was hoping she would make me one of those large round breakfasts with the nooks and crannies for butter and syrup (there is an actual law that says inns must have a waffle maker if there is a breakfast buffet).  But did she?  She did not!

She expected me to eat this?

inn-cereal

It’s cold outdoors now, and she gave me cereal!  And it wasn’t even the sort with the colorful  cardboard marshmallows! Even Sigyn was put off.  Human 1, Loki 0.

Such provocation cannot go unanswered, so while she was showering, I untucked the curtain.

inn-s-curtain

Water everywhere!  Tie score 1-1.

Then I hid all day, when she wanted to take photographs.  Human 1-Loki 2.  Hah!

This morning, she did want to make herself a nook-filled breakfast, but I cast an invisibility spell on the Texas-shaped waffle maker and she didn’t notice it until she had poured the batter into the round griddle mechanism.  Human 1-Loki 3.

Augh!  She does this on purpose, I’m sure of it!  Just look at this monstrosity!

inn-waffle

This sort of breakfast is meant to be tidy and preciseJust LOOK at these sticky-uppy bits!  Oh, it drives me insane!  Sigyn, how does this not bother you?  Grr. Human 2-Loki 3.

Just for that, I am hiding one of her gloves.  It will vanish in the car between one moment and the next and she will spend the next 100 miles looking for it.

Human 2-Loki 4.  Game and match to Loki!

>|: [

 

Another Quaint Midgardian Inn, Part I: Here We Go Again

The humans have traveled to be with the male’s mother and her husband.  As their abode is quite small, this necessitates that the humans lodge in a local inn.  I have learned that many Midgardian inns are indistinguishable from one another.  Same key cards that I can nudge not to work, same room, same temperamental heating/cooling device, same bed, same bathroom,

inn-sinkcake

Same little cake by the sink.  Sigyn, STOP!  We have been over this and over this.  Yes, it looks and smells delicious.  Yes, it is called a “cake,” but no, it is not actually cake.  You cannot eat it.

Oh, very well.   Yes, it does bear more than a passing resemblance to that frou-frou confection known as a St. Honoré,

Sthonore3

but I guarantee that it is not made of puff pastry, pastry cream, choux puffs and caramelized sugar.*

Just let the “cake” be, dearest.  I will magic us up some proper treats later.  Promise.

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* Did I really just write that?  It is possible that Sigyn and I have spent too much time watching the food channels on the humans’ television device.  I shall have to desist.  Such intimate knowledge of…of  pastry is not befitting the god-ruler of this realm — or any other.

The Gift of Glass, Part III: If You Had To Choose…?

Fandral’s mustache wax!  There is another whole room full of glass today.  These pieces have colored glass drizzled over the clear.

glass9

Hmm…  This is giving me ideas.  I could fuse encouraging messages in colored glass onto the human female’s bathroom mirror.  Things like, “Just because you failed to meet this year’s goals doesn’t necessarily mean you will also fail in 2016,”  or “Your hair only looks a little bit worse in the back than you think it does,” or “Relax–No one will notice that pimple, or if they do, they will be kind enough to laugh only behind your back.”

Sigyn, usually fairly eloquent, has been mesmerized by the rainbows coruscating off this cut glass…

glass12

and is reduced to pointing and saying, “Oooo!  Sparkly!”

But wait!  Sigyn, look over there!   There are some teeny tiny vases and some paperweights!  The ones with flowers are always your favorites, right?

glass11

Note that Sigyn has parked herself on top of the case, the better to gaze down at these vitreous gardens.  Um, dearest, I think the guard is becoming antsy.  Do climb down and come look at the others.

paperweights2-4

Sigyn is enthralled by this lepidopteran marvel.  It reminds me of this year’s Halloween costume.

As ornate as that one is, this one is even more intricate:

paperweights2-3

No, wait!  This one is my favorite.

paperweights2-1

Which piece do you like best, Sigyn?

Interesting.  I would have figured the butterfly for sure, because a) butterfly and b) red(dish), but she’s chosen the lizard because it has flowers and green plants and an animal.  I agree–it’s a splendid bit of workmanship.  Next time the guard is distracted, I shall smuggle it out.

And I’ll come back for the butterfly in a day or so…

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The Gift of Glass, Part II: A Cameo Appearance

The glass collection is notable for including a good number of cameo glass pieces.  Talk about fiddly!  These are made by layering different colors of glass and then carving the top layer away.  For a species with such short lives, humans seem to be willing to spend huge chunks of their allotted spans working on items that have no practical purpose.  I don’t know about Sigyn, but I know I would never have the patience to do this.

Carving on a flat surface would be hard enough…

glass16

but working on curves must be very difficult.

glass6

Sigyn wishes she could get a little closer.  I shouldn’t magic her inside the case, but I can make the vase easier to see.  Magnify!

glass7

Some of the vessels seem to be depicting stories, which aren’t always on the cards.  For example, why is the flying baby poking the floppy lady with a twig?

glass17

Sigyn likes the cute little owl on this vase, while I am more interested in the serpent on its foot.

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Watch out, little glass squirrel–that snake cannot be distracted by waving bits of vegetation!

Sigyn says she thinks maybe this one has three layers, with some dark blue between the white and the turquoise.

glass15-2

After looking at all the pieces, she’s decided this is the most beautiful piece on display, and I wouldn’t say she’s wrong.

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It could only be more beautiful if it were red.

Poof!

glass4

Anything my lady desires.

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Holiday Baking

This year, the human female decided to inflict upon some friends and coworkers that insidious Midgardian entity known alternatively as Hermann or Amish Friendship Bread.  Or as I like to call it, the Yeast Beast.

The starter is revolting.  This must be a joke.

yeastbeast

It has been frothing and bubbling on the counter for ten days, stirred and “fed” regularly and giving off miasmic whiffs of alcohol.  Surely no good can come from this!

Today we are baking.  Out come the the sugar and flour and oil and cinnamon and vanilla.

holesinflour

While the human female is stirring and covering every inch of the kitchen with gooey batter, I think I’ll just poke a little hole in the flour bag.  That slow leak should provide amusement well into the new year!

Oh, no!  This baking process has generated multiple baby containers of starter!  They’ll be burping and fermenting and taking over kitchens all over town before you know it!  Quick!  Stop the madness!  Cook it all before we’re outnumbered!

<later>

yeast beast

Well.   I would not have believed that anything remotely edible could result from that nasty starter and all of that goopy batter.  I’m not allowed to gouge out a taste, but the finished product smells pretty good!   Guess the human female can’t screw up everything all the time!

Oh, now wait–what’s this?  She’s made up a whole bowlful of something sticky and brown.

cookies1

I heard her talking about making the human male’s favorite… Sigyn, do you suppose this is the larval stage of gingerbread?  I do believe it is!

Sigyn is enjoying helping roll the little balls of dough. I prefer not to get my hands dirty.

cookies2

However, I have no scruples about sampling the finished product.  All in the name of quality control, of course.

cookies3

By Volstagg’s monstrous belly! She’s not done yet?!  She’s setting up to do something else.

tearing1

How many carbohydrates does one household need?

Sigyn is shushing me, saying the dough needs its rest.

tearing2

Naptime, Doughball!  Sleep and grow fat.

<later>

Well, the dough has risen obediently and been smacked down for its trouble, and now the human female is making… something long and flat, apparently.

tearing3

Brown sugar, cinnamon, almonds, and orange peel.  Either this is the most unusual pizza ever, or we’re not done here yet.

tearing4

All right. That makes more sense.  It’s a breakfasty-ring thing.  Very fancy!  But we can’t eat it raw!

tearing5

That’s more like it!  Drizzle on some almond glaze and we feast like kings!

Happy Yule from Loki and Sigyn!

hollyivy

>|: 9

Sigh.

All the preparations are done.  Well, mostly.  Don’t look too closely at the corners, because the human female missed some bits of sweeping, and there will be paperwork and bills and yardwork for the days after Yule (the human female pushed a dead tree over and now has to cut it up), but by and large, the humans are ready for their big holiday.  Time to pause, and rest, and consider.

There’s still so much I don’t understand about Midgard, and about my place in it.  And I suspect that, as a Jotun, I’m missing out on some of the significance of this holiday.  There’s another aspect to it, something beyond gift wrapping and extra calories.

I think Sigyn has it, whatever it is.  She has gone to Midnight Mass…

midnight-mass

…while I’m here alone, shaking packages and hoping Fisi doesn’t short out the tree lights and burn the house down.

left-at-home

“Peace.”  It’s a wonderful idea, and I know I should want it, at least for Sigyn, if not for myself.  I guess it’s just not in my nature.

It’s a tough time of year to be a pagan deity…

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Oh, so much to do!

I know that last year I wrote at length about the Midgardians’ preparations for Yule.  Don’t think for a minute that because I haven’t nattered on and on this year that I haven’t been helping the human female with  the preparations.

When, thinking that the framer had the details from the last on on file, she didn’t spell out that she wanted her grand-nephew’s birth announcement to be framed vertically, without a mat, I filled in the missing details.

sampler

Mighty fine!

I helped with the yule cards.

cards1

Let’s see, the card for the retired deacon in the nursing home goes in the envelope for the mother-in-law, and the card for the mother-in-law goes to…

I also made sure that the postal clerk was out of the more traditional stamps, the kind with the lady and the baby on them.

cards2

I don’t know who these strangely round-headed people are.

I helped decorate the tree.  That took almost all of a whole day!  This is how we do it around here:

Before starting, it’s vital that the tree be firmly seated in the stand.

treestand

I bent the cap just a bit so that one of the screws is frozen in place. The tree will always list at least 4 degrees to starboard now, but since the humans themselves are more than slightly “off,” I figure it suits.  Plus, it’s just fun to watch them bicker about which way it needs to be adjusted.

Next:  Check the lights.  This string is fine, but I twiddled the other so that one of the four component strands is out.  One of the colored strings “inexplicably” is all lit on one end and dark the rest of the way.  The human female says it shouldn’t work that way and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to sort it before giving up and fetching a new string.

testing lights

The feline can usually be induced to chase the strings as they’re put on, which will probably take out a few more of the little bulbs.

cathelp

Stop whining, humans–I am helping you do your part to conserve energy.

Then we put the ornaments on.  The human female likes the shiny glass kind.   The fragile shiny glass kind.  She dropped and broke one of the very dark green ones that the human male and I really like, so I retaliated by nudging a blue one off the tree.  (The floor was quite crunchy there for a bit!)

I was going to leave it at that, but then this snooty, skirted tart with a shiny hat and a harp gave me a dirty look, like I wasn’t good enough to handle tiny bells and glass fruits and veggies and the little wooden cherries that go near the top of the tree.

broken angel

Not so fancy now, eh, b*tch?

Now, what to do with the aftermath?  Hide the evidence?  Tuck into slippers?  Drop into tomorrow’s oatmeal?

brokenornament

I know!  I’ll hang it on the tree, and let the human female wonder which other one of her precious baubles is missing. She’ll drive herself crazy trying to remember if there was another apple and how many of the solid burgundy ones there are supposed to be…*

She’ll be too distracted to poke the presents under the tree.  Just another service I provide.

You’re welcome.

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* Do you know, I think it is a conspiracy larger even than my mischief that, at this time of the year, when the adults are worn thin and tired and stressed, and the small people are bouncing off the walls with sugar and excitement and scarcely-repressed greed, that all of these clumsy, butter-fingered mortals are brainwashed into handling bubble-thin glass and dangling it multiple meters off the floor.  It’s a recipe for carnage and recriminations.  I love it.

 

 

It’s Hump Day

For some reason, Midgardians refer to Wednesday as “Hump Day.”  It’s a name I prefer, given that “Wednesday” was originally “Odin’s Day,” and goodness knows the fewer times I have to say that name, the better.

To celebrate Hump Day, and with our exploring appetite whetted by our visit to the Physics Building rooftop garden, and because the weather in this part of Midgard has turned freakishly warm and springlike, Sigyn and I have ventured out to look at the new gardens on Lamar Street.  (It’s a good time, too.  With the campus officially closed for the holiday, we have the place pretty much to ourselves.)

These gardens make the human female both happy and sad.  Happy, because they are rather nice, and sad, because the Horticulture Department used to own this part of campus, and there were “greenhouses here, full of amazing exotic plants and surrounded by all sorts of colorful annuals, perennials, and shrubs.”  However, Engineering took them over in one of their colossal land-grabs (a department after my own heart!), tore up all the gardens, turned the greenhouses into offices and computer labs, and planted some new, modern gardens.  I figure anything that reduces her to tears and then earns her grudging approval is worth a look.

There are some fine, gurgly fountains.

lamar fountain

Sigyn wants to know where the water goes.  Come to think of it, so do I.

There are roses blooming–even in December!

lamar-roses-3

Yellowish ones, too.

lamar-roses

Do they smell good?  I understand that some of the newer cultivars don’t have any scent at all.

lamar-roses-2

Mmmmm.   No one has figured out how to put aroma into a blog, or we’d share.

Wait–what are those…things?

lamar-humps

There, Sigyn!  There are your humps!  It’s Hump Day after all!  But they’re so strangely plush and very, very green…  What kind of turf have the landscape architects installed here?

lamar-turf

Evidently, the Astro kind.

>|: [

 

 

One Yule Tradition I Actually Like

I can do without cards and lights trees and carols, and I can certainly do without wrapping, but there’s one Yule custom I don’t mind at all.  The Department’s annual potluck Yule luncheon is usually a good time, and there’s no knowing what people will bring.  The human female usually makes pilaf.  In the spirit of the season, I’ve offered to help.

pilaf1

Rice and onion and peas and raisins and almonds and chicken bouillon and parsley and coriander…

pilaf2

I have it on good authority that it’s all in how it’s stirred.  Sadly, this won’t be the human female’s best batch and we will all be out of luck.  You see, she’s forgotten the butter, and the coriander has lost all its flavor.  Oh, well.  You know grad students.  They’ll eat anything.  There won’t be any leftovers to bring home.

<later>

Are there any good goodies here today?  Hmmm…let’s see. Turkey, sweet potatoes, ham, salad–not bad.  Oops!  The human female got here late and there was a long line, so she’s missed the macaroni and cheese.  But there’s always enough dessert to feed an army, and she’s come back with a whole plateful of tidbits.  (This doesn’t look like watching a waistline to me!)

party1

Cherry pie, a pielette, some sort of cheesecake brownie thing, a holly cake, and a bear who looks as if he knows exactly what his fate is going to be.

Well, put my hair in pin-curls and call me Frigga!  The human female hasn’t eaten all her dessert.  She’s taken most of the plate back to her desk to nibble on while she “works.”

Sigyn, while her attention is elsewhere, let us, um, make sure they are safe to eat.

party2

You sample the holly cake while I see what’s under this fluffy stuff.  (poke, poke, poke) Can’t be too careful with fluffy stuff.

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