If you want to take this:
To make this:
You had better use this:
Or you will end up with this:
She did this aaaall by herself.
If you want to take this:
To make this:
You had better use this:
Or you will end up with this:
She did this aaaall by herself.
Let us see what else is under the tree that isn’t marked “Loki” but which can be turned profitably to my use.
I am sensing a theme here…
The pencil matches the puzzle from yesterday. That’s cute, but how does one help with the other? It’s a fancy pencil, one that rotates the lead so that it is always worn to a sharp point. Clever. Bet I can “adjust” the mechanism for maximum mischief. Or, if not, a very pointy pencil makes a very good improvised weapon…
Ah. This has even more promise.
Blue ink! One of the human female’s fountain pens is currently filled with a very lovely but thoroughly misbehaving blue called Liberty’s Elysium. Misbehaving, because I nudged it with a trifling little curdle spell, which was just enough to make it clot up and stop writing in the middle of a sentence, which is hilarious–at least for me.
The human female admired this ink at some point in the past, so it showed up in her stocking. It’s a pricey brand, so that’s a good present. I won’t meddle with this one. I’ll see that it behaves in an exemplary fashion, with nary a blot. Note, however, that it was a one-off, made by Menteverde for the big stamp show in the realm’s capital this year. I’ll let the human female fall in love with it, then make sure no other bottle is ever available again.
Sigyn is in raptures over another of the human female’s presents.
I am the farthest thing from a needlework connoisseur, but even I can tell that someone took a lot of pains to make all of those tiny stitches.
There’s a little thumb latch, so it would appear that this is meant to open. What’s inside?
Just the most beautiful face in the whole world!
I shall create a diversion involving the felines and something chewable or smashable, and in the resulting confusion whisk this lovely mirror away where Sigyn can enjoy it and the human female can’t foul its glass with her ugsome visage.
Still playing by the Cat Rule: What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine if I can get it.
It will surprise no one that I operate on the Cat Principle: What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine if I can get my hands on it.
Having enjoyed my icicle, eaten my share (and more!) of cookies and bacon rolls, and laughed at the human female getting socks, I am now ready to explore other people’s Yule gifts. If I like them, I may appropriate them. If I’m unimpressed, I may…alter…them a bit, especially if the recipient really, really likes them.
The human female received this curious little box:
Sigyn says the creature on the cover looks familiar.
The box is labeled in a language I do not read, and my Allspeak is not helping very much. I shall refer to the printed insert.
Odin’s eyepatch! That’s no help!
Still, it’s a jigsaw. We know how those work, don’t we, my petal? It is well-sealed. How fortunate that I always have a dagger about my person.
What odd pieces! They are translucent, so one has to look carefully to ascertain that they are picture-side up. I approve of the fact that many of them are green. Sigyn appears to have found an eye. Well done, my love!
We are making good progress. We have mostly finished the Big Creature and the Smaller Auxiliary Creatures. Now all that is left is the foliage which, even though it is green, is boring.
I have reached my monthly limit of jigsaw. Sigyn, I shall leave it to you to complete the image.
Ah! I see you are down to the solid white pieces. Since they are all roughly the same shape (though not identical), I fear that this is going to be trial and error.
You can write it down, Sigyn: “Dear Diary, Today I completed a jigsaw puzzle four times taller than myself!” That is quite an accomplishment!
Time to pack it back into its box. I may keep a piece for myself, though, so that the human female is never able to entirely complete it.
A very Happy Yule to all my admirers, from the land of opened presents, over-tired mortals, and delicious smells.
I am relieved about the delicious smells. For the longest time, I thought the human female wasn’t going to do any holiday baking this year. FINALLY, she got her act together yesterday, at the last damn minute.
She started with the Pistachio Cranberry Shortbread. Sigyn and I like them because they are festively red and green inside. The human female likes them because, since the dough does not have any eggs, she can lick the beaters without fear of contracting some vile intestinal upset. (Which is the very antithesis of festive.)
She doesn’t make these cookies often because A) She is lazy, and B) They contain a shocking amount of butter. Therefore, Sigyn and I paid close attention, in case we want to whip up a batch of our own sometime. (And not share.)
The recipe is from an old magazine and is available online.
This is good, because I find writing out recipes to be completely tedious.
The recipe doesn’t make very many, so she made a double batch. This involved a lot of pistachios.
Or, as Sigyn likes to call them, smish-smashios. The recipe doesn’t say to cut them up, but the human female says it make shaping the ultimate cookies easier.
Double cranberries came next.
I feel safer when Sigyn is far away from knives.
Behold the shocking amount of butter! The recipe calls for it to be softened, so my sweetie sat on it for a while to warm it up.
Part of why these cookies are so yummy is that there is a good amount of fresh orange zest in them.
I had to make sure Sigyn minded the micro-plane grater. It is very sharp! And a pain to clean.
Sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and quite a bit of messy beating, and we had dough!
The best part about this dough is that there are no eggs, so it can be eaten straight from the bowl…
Still, enough dough survived to be formed into logs and chilled overnight. Then it was a matter of slicing the logs
And baking them until just golden on the bottom. The red and green insides are quite festive.
After that, she made gingerbread, and then followed it all up with her favorite Yule breakfast treat.
She may be annoying, but the woman can bake.
I swear on my pointy helmet that I was not responsible, but…
Ehehehehe… Maybe it’s just the box….
The human female…
Got socks for Yule. ALL the socks!
So, so richly deserved!
The human female’s family used to have a tradition—the children were allowed to open one gift on the eve of Yule. The human female says that somehow, it always turned out to be new pajamas—or else a big box of crayons so that they stayed busy and out of the way of the grown-ups and their holiday preparations.
Sigyn has mentioned this way of celebrating multiple times in the last week. I can certainly take a hint when it is as unsubtle as a moose on the subway. Very well, Sigyn, we can open one present now. I’ll even let you choose.
If you end up with socks, don’t blame me.
Ah! Excellent choice! I have been wondering about this parcel myself. I have shaken it a few times, but I have not heard anything. (It may very well be socks.)
It is from the human female’s sister, though, so it is probably not socks. Presents from her are often interesting, one-of-a-kind things. For all I know, there’s a zeppelin in there.
The wrapping is actually a sparkly bit of ribbon. That’s rather clever, and I approve of the color.
The box appears to be a home-made affair, cut down from something larger. There is tape, glue, and plastic involved.
What do you have there, Sigyn? Ah! It is a most lovely crystal! It looks for all the world like a giant icicle!
A very fitting gift for a Frost Giant, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps I shall make it into a scepter. Or–I know! We can hang it in a sunny window! I imagine it will make lovely rainbows.
That is a very good gift! You can write the human female’s sister a thank you note. (I do not do thank you notes.)
Meanwhile, I am going to go poke and shake the other presents under the tree, and if there is anything that looks or sounds particularly promising, I shall remove the tag and replace it with one bearing my name.
That is MY Yule tradition.
I can’t believe it. It’s another Yule party. This is the one that the mortals’ church staff has every year. It varies. It used to be a potluck. The last few years it’s been upstairs at a pizzeria. Tonight it’s at a local restaurant. Sigyn and I have tagged along. Church and churchy people make me nervous, but Sigyn likes the whole deal, so I’m going to make sure she doesn’t get lost in the crowd and has a good time.
Odin’s eyepatch! “Crowd” was right! This place is sardinified! There’s barely room to move around, and even the humans say they don’t know half the people here. Who knew there were so many volunteers, interns, campus ministers, visiting missionaries, and so on? I shan’t bother trying to learn their names. It’s not as if one could hear an actual conversation in here anyway–the noise of chatter is deafening.
Looks like there is going to be a random gift exchange again this year. Last year we had all the good presents–and they were all stolen from us.
Sigyn thinks this parcel looks “friendly”. I say, with that red nose it’s highly likely that Old Santy has been at the wine already. (There does seem to be a good bit of wine on offer.)
Let us peruse the menu:
The human female is ordering what is basically a tarted-up chicken parm. She’s so boring.
I must say, although we are a bit cramped now that we are all seated and though it is still noisy, this is a nice place. Sigyn is making friends with the salt shaker.
Dearest, just because it has a cute little “body” and a little “head” doesn’t mean it’s alive and capable of holding a conversation.
But at least it’s glassware she has no chance of getting trapped in!
The toasted bread is nice, but the smashy olive goop, unfortunately, tastes of olives. No one at the table is liking this except the one woman who is an olive fiend. Here, you can have ours!
The salads have arrived. The human male is less than enthusiastic.
Seeing as how he loathes both mushrooms and olives.
The gift-draw has commenced. Our table-mate has received this lovely tree.
Sigyn? Do you want me to steal it? Just say the word, and I will, even if it isn’t our turn to pick a present.
The main course is arriving, and the gift-draw continues. The humans have just opened up a parcel which has turned out to be lottery tickets.
The temptation to scratch them off and see if I’ve won anything, and then hide any winning cards so they don’t get stolen, is pretty strong.
Ooo! Dessert! Sigyn is all about strawberry cheesecake.
The humans had the lottery tickets stolen from them. The human male ended up with something completely lame and traded it, post-exchange, for a handy cell-phone charger caddy thingie.
Except that it turns out not to charge anything. It’s just a place to plunk phones, with their charging cords hanging out the back. Feel pretty silly now, don’t you, mortal?
At least he didn’t get the calendar with photos of dogs pooping or the enormous jar of pickles. No one wanted those.
And there you have it. Food eaten, gifts exchanged, ho ho ho and Good Yule to all. Time to go home where it is quiet and spacious. Easy-peasy.
Now, if I can just convince Sigyn that it is now all right to let the prize ticket go…
The humans make it an annual Yule tradition to visit a local international market-type emporium. They usually buy foreign comestibles to send to relatives and to gobble themselves. (Though the human male is going to find that there is a notable lack of ginger gummy bears this year, and the human female will find on the ingredient list for the stollen she wants something she absolutely cannot eat.) They’ve also been known to pick up a bauble or toy or two, again for friends, relatives, or themselves. Note: This is how clutter happens.
Sigyn and I are tagging along. I don’t care much for Yule, one way or the other, but Sigyn adores the place and is so darned cute that I have to keep her from being snatched up by some random shopper. Also, she tends to try to make friends with everyone and frequently becomes trapped in random glassware, so you can see she needs her own personal protection detail.
I see there is no shortage of colorful trinkets this year, along with equally colorful boxes and drawers to put them in.
No, Sigyn, I do NOT think this would make a “cozy vacation cabin.”
Hmm. Either this is not a faithful replica…
…or the Eiffel Tower is considerably smaller than I have been led to believe.
Oh! Sigyn has started introducing herself to people. That didn’t take long. And she has such a sunny personality that everyone’s immediate response is to either adopt her or offer her a ride.
Case in aureus lepidopteran point.
This pulchritudinous pachyderm is not immune to her charm, either.
But, um, Sigyn? What is that unicorn doing?
It looks like some woolly variant of the macarena.
Dearest, you know I rarely put my foot down when your friends are concerned but, santa hat or no, this guy is just too sketchy.
You are not inviting him home for cider and cookies.
As the human female is tediously fond of saying, it’s important to deal in facts, to look into the scientific explanations for various phenomena.
She needs to hang on tight, because I am about to hoist her with her own petard.
I shall now explain why she is the shape she is.
She read online that one of her favorite local eateries was making something called an Orange Dreamsicle Cupcake. So, naturally, on her most recent visit to said establishment, she teased the human male into buying one for her.
It was gargantuan.
There were approximately nine Sigyns of cream cheese icing, volume-wise.
Far more calories than anyone should consume in one sitting. And yet that is just what she did!
It doesn’t help her dumplitude that it is the Eating Season, that time of year between All Hallows and the New Year, when it is one long, continuous bombardment by candy, pie, desserts, turkey, more pie, yule cookies, and an unending parade of parties and other festivities.
For example, the human female’s immediate workgroup had their feastivities last week, and today the Biology Department is having their annual Ginormous Potluck. Let’s take a look at her plate, shall we?
She’s got the basic food groups: turkey, potatoes, samosas, pie, a cookie (under the pie), and strudel.
And there’s pilaf and cranberry sauce hiding under there as well.
Not to mention the little spinach dip cracker and the bite-size lemon tart she hoovered up in the buffet line.
So I ask you, mortal, is it really fair to blame the washing machine for the shrinkage in your jeans?
Empirical evidence suggests not.
It’s been strongly suspected by many for a while that I have a hand in the running of the Infernal Revenue Service. (I’ve been slowly and steadily siphoning funds for my takeover of the realm.) Now I am ready to announce openly that I have taken control of Usually Smashes Parcel Significantly .
And the mail-sorting equipment is functioning juuuuust the way I want…