Month: June 2016

A New Frenemy

I haven’t said very much about a new acquaintance that followed us home from London.  Remember Cuddles, the octopus who accompanied us on our tour of the science museum?  He inveigled himself into the human female’s carry-on luggage and has been residing in our home.  I would not call him an easy houseguest.

He is one cranky cephalopod.

octopus2

Let Sigyn go, you hateful lump of as-of-yet-unfried calamari!  I don’t care if she changed the television channel to watch a vintage romantic comedy on the Old Black and White Movie Channel–you weren’t really watching the golf anyway.  Don’t lie to me!  You hate golf!

Play nice, now.

octopus1

That’s better.  I know you always say a cuddle is a smother you haven’t finished yet, but if you want to remain in this household, there will be no suckerage or constricting of the occupants, is that clear?

I’m surrounded by idiots.

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Good Thing There’s a Label

This was among the humans’ purchases on that ill-totaled shopping trip.  I’m glad there’s a label on this box…

cow-mac

…because just by looking at the pasta shapes there is no way in all the Nine Realms that I’d have identified those squiggulous abominations as bovines.

Sigyn thinks they’re “cute” and is producing those knee-jerk mooing noises that she always makes around cattle.  Personally, I don’t think they’re cute or funny at all.

And what is it with humans that they have to make their food into silly animal shapes before they will eat it?  You won’t find Asgardians making pies shaped like bilgesnipe or Jotuns freezing popsicles in the shape of ice sharks.

cowmac2

Seriously, people, what is the deal?

………………

After action report:  The cows are an utter failure.  After cooking and adding the contents of the sauce packet, the contents of this box can best be described as “Classic Amoebas and Cheese.”

Nummers.

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Making the Shopping a Bit More Surreal

It’s no secret that the humans like to eat.  Or, in the female’s case, eat and eat and eat. It’s no surprise, therefore, that their grocery bills are, while somewhat north of Volstagg’s, not insignificant.  When last week’s purchase rolled into triple digits, no one thought much about it.  It was, after all, a stock-up shop, replacing staples and household products depleted before and just after our trip abroad.

This morning, the human male is recording the purchase in the checkbook.  Hold!  What is this?

pitteddates

Eleven-plus pounds of pitted dates?  Who buys that many dates?  What on earth did they need with that many dates?  More to the point, why did Sigyn and I not get any of them?

The humans do not remember buying any pitted dates.  In fact, the male doubts that their market has such a quantity at any time, except perhaps for Yule.

Oh, ehehehehehe!  I know what has happened!  The checker (waving at you, Darrel!) has mistaken the PLU or produce look-up code of dates (4263) with that of Russet potatoes (4072).  Because, you know, the two numbers are so close.

Now the humans will have to call the store and probably go stand in line at Customer Service (sic) to obtain a refund of the price difference between boring, starchy stew ingredients and delicious, sticky morsels of drupey delight.  It is is good to know that my checker-training program is bearing fruit–of a distinctly Arecaceous kind!

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A Well-earned Breakfast

We were all so sticky and sweaty after our little botanical jaunt that we had to have a quick wash before going out again for breakfast.  Here we all are at a local establishment called Fuego.  “Fuego” means “fire,” Sigyn, and there are little flames all over the menu, so I think we must be very careful about our selections…

fuego3

Sigyn is intrigued by the Cowboy one.

furego2

Dr. Pepper?  Chipolte cream corn?  Sounds revolting. I am leaning a little toward ordering the Widow Maker for the human female.  It would solve a lot of problems.

fuego1

We are number 51.  Sigyn is very excited because they just served number 49!

fuego-51

Well, rats. The human female sneaked behind my back and ordered boring old potato and egg.

furego4.jpg

What, no cheese?  I do, however, approve of its piping-hotness.

The human male is going to liven up his order with this sneaky-looking green sauce.

fuego-sauce

I don’t trust it.

Mmm. Breakfast tacos are a good thing.  Messy, though.

furego5

Nothing eight or ten yards of paper towels won’t fix.  Be very careful, dearest, that you are not bundled away with the table trash!

(discreet burping)  Sun, flowers, and lots of food.  I do believe it is time for a nap.

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Loki’s Mostly-Accurate Vine Primer

While the humans are finishing up with their photographs and questionable nomenclature, I’ve decided to review what I learned about the local vines.  You will see that I know quite as much as the human female.  Probably more.  For each vine, I will provide a handy mnemonic jingle.

Sigyn, don’t touch that!   I know the new growth is shiny and red,

vines-PI

but this is Poison Ivy.  Some people can be immune, but it’s best not to push one’s luck.  Leaves of three, let it be!  Frost Giants are immune, so I’ll just pick a bit to put in the human female’s next lunchtime salad.  (She’s always complaining that her packed lunches at work are boring.  I’m just trying to help.)

This plant, greenbriar, is scarcely less pleasant to deal with.  Sigyn and I have run into it several times before.

vines-smilax

Look at those prickles!  It is the botanical equivalent of barbed wire!  Smilax vine makes you whine!  It can make some very dense, flesh-shredding tangles and has left its mark on every field botanist in the South.  (Do not ask to see the human female’s scars.  Some things are better left to the imagination. )

vines-smilax2

This plant looks like greenbriar, but it isn’t  prickly.  I’ve heard it called snailseed, but I can’t remember why.  I really never listen very closely when the human female talks.  Snailseed does no mean deed.

vines-cocculus

Oops, back to prickly things.  This is our local blackberry or dewberry.  It has both prickles …

vines-Rubus

And little red glandular hairs.

vines-rubus2

Dewberry, dewberry, make me a pie.  Beware of the prickles, it WILL make you cry!

Are you keeping score?  That’s one poisonous plant, two prickly plants, and one not-prickly plant rather cryptically named for a mollusc.

Our last vine of the day is Creepy Virginia.  It has leaves sort of like poison ivy and sort of like dewberry.  It climbs like poison ivy, but belongs to the grape family.  No prickles.

vines-virginiac.jpg

Five leaflets, harmless, up trees it will climb./ For words like “Virginia” there isn’t a rhyme.

Hey, there’s nothing to this poetry stuff!  Bet I can do a limerick.

A mighty Frost Giant named Loki/  Taught vines while the humans were pokey./  She won’t have a hunch/ P.I.’s in her lunch/ My mischief is naughty and joke-y.

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Dubious Posies From a June Walk

Sigyn and I have grown bored with the basket flowers and are poking about to see what else is here.  Besides heat.  Norns’ nighties, it is scarcely 9:00 a.m. and already it feels like Muspelheim out here.  Apparently, we did not start early enough.

This yellow-flowered flax looks as if it would rather be some place cooler.  You and me both, little one, you and me both.

flax.jpg

Slanty Latin names are very confusing.  The basket flowers are Centaurea, and these little pink ones are Centaurium.  No relation.  Now I ask you, how does that help anything?  When I take over the world, I am going to let Sigyn re-name all the plants with words that make sense.

centaurium

(Actually, I already have a brilliant plan.  I can recognize the genus Rosa when I see it, so I will keep that and place all the rest of the plants in the genus Other.  That way, any idiot–the human female included–will be able to sight-identify any plant on earth to genus.)

This third pink thing is related to the second pink thing.  The human female identified this one for me once, now let me think…  It’s…um…Sebacea.  You know, like pimples.  What a horrid name!

sabatia

It makes Sigyn look tiny.

This yellow flower is weird-looking.  It has ten stamens, but they don’t all match.

chamaecrista

The human female has finished with the basket flowers and is now snooping into what we are doing. She says it is called Partridge Pee, which doesn’t sound very nice.  Sigyn, maybe you don’t want to touch that.

This lavender one seems harmless enough, though.  Does it have a gross name too?

ruellia

Oof. The sun is climbing quickly toward the zenith.  We can look at a few more plants, love, but then I will be ready for some breakfast.  But after handling pee and pimples, you should definitely wash your hands before eating!

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A June Walk in Familiar Territory

Sorry for the typos in yesterday’s post.  I was laughing so hard it affected my typing.  On to today!

Missing looking at gardens every day as we did in London, the human female has lost no time in getting back out into “the field” to see what has come into flower in our absence.  However, I scarcely think it counts as “getting out into the field” when you don’t go more than six blocks and are never more than 100 feet from the car.

But look at that!  It is basket flower time again!  For some reason, the humans (accompanied today by the blue-haired goddaughter)   like to take photographs of this plant every year.  Why?  Do they expect it to do something different?

They are strangely alluring.  If somewhat difficult to climb.

centaurea2

Success!

centaurea1

Sigyn has summited this bud on her own.  They really do have the most peculiar phyllaries.  (I am ashamed that I know that word.  The human female’s nerdy botanese is wearing off on me.  I think I need to go blow some things up to get my “cool” back.  Query:  Do the humans really need to own two vehicles?)

centaurea3

Sigyn, the humans will probably be quite some time trying to get the perfect photo.  Might as well find a spot in the shade and have a little nap…

centaurea4

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Mischief Update–Bits and Pieces

I haven’t had time to do much since we’ve been back, but some of the projects I set in motion before we left are paying off.  Remember kiddies:  villainy is as much about planning as it is about malice.

The human female is back at work and none too happy about it.  Yesterday it occurred to her to check on one of her orders that should have been here already.  This was one she had been concerned about because BAMN had given her two contradictory messages about it.  One said, “The BAMN gods have smiled and your order has been sent to the vendor.”  The other said, “Wail and gnash your teeth, for your PO has failed to convert and has not been sent.”  Back before our trip, she even called the vendor with the PO number, and they check and assured her that All Was Well.  Fast forward to now, when the goods have failed to arrive.  She called the vendor again, and they told her they had no record of the transaction.  This sparked a flurry of e-mails and phone calls to BAMN people and vendor people, and it turns out that yes indeedy, the vendor most certainly DID have a PO with that number.  From a different customer in California.  A few more e-mails served to have the BAMN people re-send the failed order.  If all goes well, the shipment should be here in the nick of time.  But we all know who the BAMN god really is, don’t we, so how likely would you say that is?

More BAMN fun: One of the humans’ biggest gripes has been that there has been no catalog punch-out for Vendor Who’s Responsible.  All orders must be typed in by hand.  No clicky-buy-ee for you!  Well, there now IS a punch-out catalog.  Hooray.  But I poked the system and, while it works, there is no way to attach a quote document, so no way to drop items in the cart at agreed-upon prices.  Not so hooray.  Ehehehehe.

Something else to wrestle through BAMN–the ongoing Defunct Feline Conundrum (hereafter referred to as DFC, for short)  Midgardians are going to have to rethink their colloquialism, “There isn’t room to swing a dead cat.”  Why?  THERE ARE NO DEAD CATS TO BE SWUNG!  The nationwide shortage of dead cats for dissection has worsened.  The cats the human female ordered last December from the Purveyor of Dead Things have not arrived and most likely will not.  Nor have the 325 she ordered in March.  Other Vendors Numbers 1-5 have no cats at all.  Other Vendor Number 6 can promise cats, but due to the Great and Pungent Moldy Cat Incident of ’09, Vendor Number 6 is, shall we say, not a preferred provider. Still, lab personnel have indicated a willingness to bathe any fungally-challenged cats lovingly in disinfectant weekly if only they appear.  The Purveyor of Squiggly Things (who also does Dead Things) this morning has promised that they can make stiff kitties happen. The human female awaits a firm quote and a promise signed in blood of first-born children if les minous morts do not materialize.

At the same time that the DFC is going on, there is a new batch of feral kittens under the adjacent building on campus. The human capacity for brain dichotomy is a wonder to behold.  Half of the human female’s brain is all “Awww!  SO cute!” and the other half is, “Dead cats! Dead cats! My kingdom for dead cats!”  I expect that a full cerebral melt-down is imminent.

The human female’s work group has been short-handed for a while now.  One of her senior Techs escaped left to go to graduate school.  (And he was the tall one, handy for Fetching Things from High Places, more’s the pity.)  The job posting for a new Tech has been out for some time now, but due to the ongoing budget woes and wars, the human female was not allowed to interview any of the seven applicants. Now she’s allowed, but one of the best applicants doesn’t actually live in Texas and two have fudged their years of experience, so interviews will be fun.

Still no hallway doors on the toilets on the third floor of the human female’s workplace.  There has been a declaration that such doors would not ADA compliant.  I fail to see how proposed third-floor doors are more obstructive to persons with limited mobility than the doors on fourth, second, and first, but my brain is larger than a pea, so perhaps I do not have the proper perspective.

As expected, the lawn really liked the two feet or so of rain that fell while we were gone.  I sat on the porch with a tall glass of iced tea and watched the female wrestle the mower around all one evening until dark, all slimy with sweat and sunscreen (non-greasy formula my eye!) and insect repellent.  At the end of the job, I nudged the mower and it wouldn’t turn off, so probably it’s broken and she has that to look forward to next time she gets off her bum and does yard work.

The superannuated feline, who is keeping the local vet and compounding pharmacy in business, has been put on a special new diet.  This diet includes gooshy food, a delicacy of which she was heretofore unaware.  It has to be the wet stuff because no agency in the Nine Realms will induce her to eat dry food with the prescription potassium powder sprinkled on it.  Nor will she accept the powder in proffered petroleum jelly, which the gormless creature will normally consume straight out of the jar as an alternative to expensive hair-ball medicine.  No, gooshy food it must be. Now, having tasted this ambrosia, she turns up her whiskers at the new expensive kibble.  She can sometimes be persuaded to nibble some kibble if it’s mixed with the gooshy food, but sometimes not.  I’ve had a little coaching session with her, and she has learned to fling the wet stuff around quite well when she eats, and she likes the stinkiest flavor best.  Face it, humans:  the days of having a low-maintenance pet are over.  My favorite part of all of this is how I’ve tweaked things so that none of the the feline’s three prescriptions are ever due for a refill at the same time.

Speaking of prescriptions, I’ve been poking about in the human female’s medicaments as well.  It takes a fair amount of drugs to keep her running, and the mail-order-pharmacy probably has her hideous face on a Frequent Customer poster someplace.  I like to tinker with their billing, so that one month they say she has a credit and issue her a refund and the next they send her a nasty-gram saying her account has an amount 21 days past due.  No one can figure it out, because the humans are pretty good about paying bills when they come in, and the overages and underages never correspond to any actual transaction.  I am a man of mystery and can keep this up forever, if need be.

Now that the days are flirting seriously with heat indices near 108°F,  I made the human female’s missing black glove magically reappear.  In the car.  Where she looked.  Multiple times.  I’ll bet anything you like she manages to lose it again before winter.  She has already managed to lose a water bottle and a pepper mill this week.  Who loses a pepper mill?!

Let me see… Forgotten lunch, leaking leftovers, failure to defrost dinner ingredients, in a timely manner, assorted computer woes, a brief but highly memorable stomach virus—yep, I think that’s the lot.  I miss England, but it’s good to be back doing what I do best!

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And About Those Wheels That Came Off The Bus…

So just what have the humans found awaiting them upon our return from London?  Only about as much fun as it is possible to cram into one mailbox!

Among the ordinary bills and useless coupons there is this little love note from the Emergency Room from when the klutzy female mashed her hand between a cart and a cabinet a while back. (Still chuckling about that one.)

doctor-bill.jpg

Ouch!  The hand was not, in fact, broken and has healed nicely, but that bill’s gonna sting for a while.

And what is this?  Looks like some cryptic bill-not-a-bill from the County Auto Registration folks.  The state has a new, one-sticker system for both inspection and registration, and it has confused everyone so much that even the county doesn’t know what one owes.

car-register

Well, yes, the county is supposed to be able to tap into the database that records whether the car has passed inspection.  Yes, the car did pass inspection.  Yes, the humans are going to have to go online to sort this out.  Yes, I did have a hand in designing the new system–why do you ask?

This last envelope is from the TxTag outfit, which sends out cute little bills to people who drive on their nice toll roads.  The humans were pretty much forced to drive on one in the Big City to the South when they were racing for the airport on our way to London. It should only be a couple of —

toll-tag

Odin’s eyepatch!  It looks like the humans have been very naughty and have racked up not one but TWO violation fees!  Tsk, tsk.  That’s what you get for not having a toll tag.  No, I do not think TxTag will care that you don’t live in a city where you need one every day.  You can call and complain about it, mortals, but don’t be surprised when they laugh and hang up.

The best part of this is that there is bound to be another bill just like this for the return trip!

If I were you, I would stop opening mail now.  Do you really want to find out what the feline spent on pay-per-view while you were gone?

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