Month: May 2020

Bad Hyena! No Biscuit!

Long-time minions may have wondered why the hyena, Fisi, has not appeared here in some time.

Or perhaps you are like me and simply cannot be bothered to keep track of that mangy, antisocial creature and its gluttonous proclivities.

But I suppose I shall indulge anyone who is interested with an update.

Some weeks ago, Sigyn and I noticed that Fisi was beginning to show some disturbing symptoms.


Not wanting to expose my beloved to even the slightest risk of exposure to Norns-knew-what malady, I immediately zapped the slavering beast into a magical quarantine until such time as its condition could be elucidated.

Once the prescribed period had elapsed with no further frothing, I (grudgingly) allowed Fisi to come home.  Sigyn dotes on that walking doormat; I’ve no idea why.

So now the benighted beast is back with us and has lost no time in taking up its old hobbies.

Apparently, mask ties are for chewing.


Bad Fisi!  Don’t drag that off !  I might need the human female to go for take-out later!


BAD Fisi!  Sigyn, you promised me that pestilent animal was housebroken!


Eehehehehe! Funny, though.  This was an important document.

BAD FISI!   That is not your toy!


And I suspect one or another of the felines might take exception to your stealing it…


>|: [


What’s *Not* a Surprise is That I’m Still Making Mischief!

It has been quite some time since I made mention of all of the construction going on in the human female’s workplace.  Oh, she’s not in it, but that hasn’t stopped me!  I can cause havoc while sheltering in place.

First,though, I need to tell you about the surprise I left for her and her coworkers when they did the last walk-through before things started (which is right before the campus closed).

They were scavenging on the second floor, the floor where the construction will take place (mostly; more of that anon).  The previous occupants, members of the Kinesiology Department, appeared to have left in a terrible hurry.  There were books and papers and equipment and trash everywhere.  

In one maze of cubicles–SURPRISE!— they discovered these:


Cupcakes!  Delicious, delicious cupcakes!  Everybody loves cupcakes!  They must have had a going-away party!  But why leave any?

Then—-Great Frigga’s corset!—someone looked at the sell-by date…


December, January, February, March…

The ingredient label was torn, so they couldn’t read all of it, but I’m pretty sure there must have been some Thor-strength preservatives in them because, while they were hard as brightly-colored rocks, there wasn’t a speck of mold on them.  

Think about that for a minute.

So, that was a couple of months ago.  Construction has started, loudly, and this is what the second floor looks like:

2nd floor HELD

Just LOOK at all of the things I can make leak or short out or…

Why would I bother with a floor that the human female doesn’t work on?  Good question.  Behold my evil plans:

You see, everything is connected.  One of the courses the human female works with is moving down to this floor.  If the construction’s not finished, it can’t move, and the class that is going to be moving into its spot up on the third floor can’t move either, and then it will be Department heads and the Registrar and several professors and the human female and Prep Staff all trying to figure out what in Odin’s name they are going to do with seven sections of Biology 107.  The construction is already running behind, and everyone has been notified that one of the classrooms probably won’t have air conditioning when the fall semester starts, since the unit will have to be hoisted in through a window.  I’ll pause for a moment and let you picture that.  Teaching in a classroom.  In August.  In Texas.  With no AC.

Anyone want to start a betting pool on when I’ll actually let it get finished?  First day of the fall semester?  Third?  Second week?  Yule?

And once the construction’s done, there is still aaaaaalll the moving to do!  Not only does BIO 107 have to come down here and BIO 319 have to get set up in 107’s old room, a third course, currently housed in an entirely different building, will be moving onto this floor as well.  Worst case scenario, their room isn’t ready either.  Best case, everything is ready, but the human female and her Prep Staff have already been volunteeredtold that they are helping with the moving. In August.  In Texas. With possibly no AC.  Hmmm.  I think I’ll schedule an elevator outage for that day.

Until that day comes, I’m not sitting idly by.  No, not I!  Last week, the human female and her staff were advised that there is an upcoming building-wide power outage which will last “1 to 2 days” while new bits of wiring are tied into the existing bits.  This would not be a problem except for a few things:

  1. There are a LOT of plants and animals in the building which Prep Staff is still taking care of.  The fish rely on their bubblers not to die, and no power means no AC.  In summer.  In Texas.  Which means that things heat up pretty rapidly and the more delicate creatures commence to die.  Overheated fish tanks are not happy places.
  2.  Everyone is working remotely at least partially on their work computers.  No power, no computers.  No AC, no computers.
  3. There are freezers and cooling boxes full of nasty chemicals of various sorts which Do Not Work and Play Well With Others if they get too warm.  There are also quantities of DNA and bacterial cultures which, like ice cream (but not as tasty), are no good when melty.
  4. Anything plugged in has the potential to go “sparky-boom” when the power surges back on.
  5. All the door locks, inside and out, are electronic.

Hence the current mad scramble to make lists of things that need unplugging, computers that might need to be moved to a different building, aquaria that will almost certainly be going to another building, chemicals that need to be put in safe storage with an AC unit with its own power supply, rooms that will be all full of animals and need a portable AC unit with its own power supply, fridges that will need to be defrosted (the human female, curse her, suggested cleaning out and powering down the break-room fridge, drat her.  I was planning on making a huge, stinky mess in there!), and a dozen other things.

Concurrently or consecutively or at some yet-to-be-specified interval (I haven’t decided yet), there will also be a somewhat longer building-wide water outage.  Prep Staff has already filled some large carboys with the good reverse-osmosis water for the plants, and all would be well, except for the teensy fact that no chilled water means no AC.  In Texas.  In the summer.  See preceding for all the fun that is.

Oh, and do recall that whenever the rooms warm up beyond critical, the human female’s phone alarm goes off every five minutes until the alarm is silenced in the system or she chucks it out the window.

I am getting so. much. mileage. out of this whole thing, and the dates for all the moving parts haven’t even been announced yet!

What has been announced is that–SURPRISE!–the architects and engineers and other thinky individuals have let everyone know that–SURPRISE!— the construction can’t proceed as originally drawn because of all the conduits and piping and whatnot that need to start at the bottom and go all the way to the top.  This means that room 302, which is the plant and animal roomneeds to have a 5′ x 5′-ish chunk carved out of one corner, precisely where the microbes live.  The room will have to be rearranged—and all the living things have had to be temporarily removed to room 325 so as not to be teased, wrecked, and/or covered with dust.

Also–SURPRISE!–this same part of the project is also carving out a chunk of the Prep Staff office and out of the office of one of the Lecturers.  (That office is a glorified broom closet already!)  The computers there have already been removed to 314, the furniture has all been removed or shoved aside, and non-movable things have been dust-sheeted to a fare-thee-well.

I am having such fun with this!  The human female has not had to go back up on campus yet, but I think I can make it so she has to go.  The human male is getting to enjoy my surprises as well, since he and his will be responsible for all of the computers  (some of which, as I just related, have already been moved once–and remember that any time a computer is moved, someone has to file a location change report.  Eheheheheh.  I am so bad!)



A Beautiful and Unexpected Visitor!

By Jormundandr’s shimmering, scaly snout!  My summoning spells WORKED.  Look who showed up in the yard today!

[Ophidiophobes, scroll no further]







Two feet of sleek black beauty with a lovely golden belly and a cute, turned-up nose.

I tried to persuade him to stick around chat, but he was in a terrible hurry.  People to see, toads to eat, and all that.

Come back, my beautiful hog-nose!  We could do so many wicked things together!*

>|: [

*The human female isn’t afraid of snakes, but she has a very excellent startle reflex.

It’s Heeeeere!

After far too long of living out of ice chests, there is finally about to be a new cooling box in the kitchen.  The human female, not wishing to be publicly shamed as to what is lurking behind the old one after twenty years of residency, has moved it so she can give things a good cleaning.

It’s too gruesome.  I can’t look…

Treasure has been found!

fridge mice

Which leaves only thirty or so pom poms and a dozen mice unaccounted for.

And here it is!  A brand new appliance, with a blank-slate door just waiting for my artwork.



The humans waited impatiently for the new cooling unit to, well, cool, and they have now de-commissioned the miniature refrigerator and put their pitiful remnant groceries inside the new one.


Sigyn thinks cold applesauce sounds good.  I’m eyeing the blueberries.

All appears to be well. The new beast is humming along well and the Great Meltdown of 2020 is now one for the history books.

I’ll let them enjoy it for twenty-four hours or so before they realize that having the handle on the wrong side is going to drive them nuts.  They could fix it, of course, but that would necessitate unloading everything and tipping the behemoth (no more than 45 degrees!) so they can reach the hinge on the bottom.

Oh, and the yogurt and lettuce and berries are freezing.

>|: [

How the Felines Are Handling the Crisis

The Terror Twins seem to be taking having the humans home all day very much in stride.

At my urging, they are keeping up with their lounging duties.  No object is too lumpy or uncomfortable,


There is no piece of furniture that doesn’t need warming,

pikey cat

No cozy space is too dark or too small,


And there’s nothing that can’t be improved with the addition of some cat hair.

Lounging, of course, is only part of the program.  They DO help with chores.  Like laundry:

basket cat

And home security.  I’ve arranged regular visits from those windowsill lizards, just to keep the blinds rattling and assure a steady supply of kitty-nose prints on the glass.


There are stuffed mice and pom poms to chase.  And leave in the bed—but only if they’re stiff and soggy with cat spit.

Mostly they get along.  There’s quite a bit of reciprocal ear-washing that goes on.

kitties washing

But then someone washes too hard…

washing kitties 2

And that leads to cranky patty-cake, which leads to thumpy tussling, which leads to high-speed chases with full lights and sirens.  That’s always amusing, especially since they tend to skid a lot.

Sometimes, they and I put our heads together and think up new and interesting mischief, as well as new and more inconvenient places to harf up breakfast or a hairball.

Today we are discussing the fact that this week’s mail brought Ominous Postcards, one addressed to each of them.

vet time

License tags mean vet visits, and vet visits mean shots.  This demands action.


Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Of course, aside from lounging and hindering and harfage and dreaming up new ways of being obnoxious at the vet, Flannel Cat and Taffy Cat have somewhat limited options, since they are indoors-only.  The human female keeps telling them that they are lucky to live in such a nice house with nice (ha!) people, plenty of food, and lots of soft places to sit.

Outdoor kitties often meet with misfortune.  Poor old Marty, for example.


Oh, no!  Marty, it seems, has gone missing.  There are posters up all over the neighborhood.

Let us examine the sign:


I take it back.  Sounds like Marty knows what’s what and is out there living his best life.

You go, Marty!

>|: [

Things We Find on Walks

Our daily walks in the neighborhood are for more than exercise and getting away from the humans–we often find interesting and unusual things, so each perambulation is like a little treasure hunt.

We found this very random W archway.


W stands for What is this thing doing here?

We are seeing a lot of sidewalk art.  (I think the small humans must be very, very bored.)  This magnum opus has a very stained-glass feel to it.


Careful not to sit in the colored areas, my love.  I don’t know how well sidewalk chalk comes out of red velvet.

Other young artists have chalked pictures words of encouragement and hope to uplift us all in these dark days.  Or that’s what you’re supposed to think.  The cynic in me is quite sure that for each rainbow and every flower that graces the concrete, there is a harried, home-schooling parent who has sent a child outside (Field Trip) to write (English and Spelling) something that will comfort the neighbors (Social Sciences) and to draw (Art) a picture using a set number of colors (Mathematics).  Sometimes, the art is high up on a fence (Physical Education.)  Seven subjects ticked off the lesson plan and thirty minutes of quiet for mom, who is no doubt ensconced on the sofa with wine, a torrid novel, and a burning desire to change all the locks before the little dears can find their way back in.

Sometimes the message is less “hopeful platitude” and more “cryptic admonishment.


Touchtouchtouchtouchtouch!!! So there.

Sigyn is enamored of these metal fish we keep finding.


I looked it up in a fish book. I think it’s a bass.

Today we have found something very exciting!  Someone has set up a refreshment station with cool water and some munchy carrots!


A treat for early morning walkers?  Or–

Oh, I see.  Some youngling, no doubt, spotted one of the little molly cottontails that live in the neighborhood and has thoughtfully put out a feast for the bunnies.

Another youngling, presumably older and wiser, has helpfully pointed out that


“Rabbits do not always eat carerets.” True. Very true. (Natural Sciences)

<rumble>  The stomach has spoken!  I do not want to eat random dog-dish carrots off the ground, but I wouldn’t say no to something that is an actual breakfast.  Come my love, do you not hear the English muffins calling?

>|: [


Took Her Long Enough

The human female bought this shirt in the second-hand shop over a year ago.  She wanted something big and floppy to do yard work in.  How many times has she worn it? Who knows!  She can’t count that high, and I haven’t kept track.

You would think, then, that it wouldn’t have taken her this long to find the itchy, itchy tag that I sewed in the back of the neck…

itchy tag

…and the double-extra itchy little plastic tagger thing that’s still in there as well.

Sigh.  Some days I wonder why I even bother.  I could quit making mischief now and she’d be ninety before she found all the surprises I’ve already left her…

>|: [

I Like to Call it a “Neener Walk”

This morning, we are returning to the walking path that runs by the Large, Ugly Apartments, the traversal of which can absolutely be construed as a big, nose-thumbing neener-neener-neener 

At this time of year, the flora can change from week to week.  The human female and Sigyn are hoping for different flowers than we saw last time.

The thistles are in full, fluffy bloom and, to quote my beloved, “really, really dangle-worthy!”


Look at her!  It never ceases to amaze me how she can hang upside down so soon after breakfast without revisiting her toast.

Having a little post-dangle rest in a patch of yellow evening primroses that are cousins to the big pink ones in the lawn.


The squeaky noise you hear is my sweetie exclaiming over these tiny blue vetch flowers.


Great Frigga’s hairpins!  What is this one?  The tiny flowers are in tight little bunches, and the fruits are covered with little prickles.  It looks as if it would love to latch onto someone’s socks!  Eeeeevil, and I like it!  But be careful that you do not get any  caught in your hair, my love.


The human female says it is something non-native called “knotted hedge parsley.”  I think she has a device somewhere with little spinners—spin them and it generates random strings of botanical nonsense.  It’s the only thing that makes sense.

This is its equally foreign, equally huggy cousin, regular hedge-parsley.


Ah!  Spiderworts!  A perennial favorite.  (Literally—they’re perennial.)


They’re a marvelous, clear color that almost makes me prefer blue over greenAlmost.

Hey, Sigyn!  I know it’s not exactly the same, but look–it’s a lot like your last year’s All Hallow’s Eve costume!


Red and yellow together.  Sigyn thinks it doesn’t get much better than this!

This is a very fine path indeed.  We have yet to traverse it to its end.  The humans have a theory that, if followed to its conclusion, it would come out behind the houses not too far from our residence.  Perhaps today we shall put on our Intrepid Traveler hats and see where it goes.

Thirty feet beyond the end of the pavement:


Or maybe not.

>|: [



It has been a while since the human female received an interesting package in the mail, but one has arrived today.  Come, Sigyn, let us see what awaits!

Ah!  I recognize the wrapper.  She has ordered from these people before.  It has taken quite some time to arrive.


It’s one of those self-sealing plastic bag things.  We just need to peel up this corner…


Keep going…


“An Irish Florilegium II”


Sigyn says she has heard the human female talk about the two beautiful volumes of this work.  She saw them in some super-fancy, super-expensive bookstore in London and has been pining for them since.  I guess when she saw this used volume for sale online she was unable resist.

I also guess that she is now wishing that, given the recent painful expenditures for tree-felling and a new cooling box, she had not also purchased this tome for a much discounted yet still mildly eyebrow-raising sum.   Clearly she has not learned that as soon as I become aware that she has spent some measure of money on something frivolous, I will engender some mundane pecuniary need of an equal or greater amount!

Let us open the volume and see whether the illustrations have lived up to the glory of their memory.

Sigyn, dearest, please!  I do understand your excitement to discover a trove of botanical watercolors, but truly, your squeals of joy are almost painful to the ears!


The prints are indeed fine.  This representation of a delightfully deadly, carnivorous flytrap is very lifelike!


Sigyn is admiring this plate of lovingly-rendered DYCs.


All in all, a most pleasing book.  As the human female relaxes to peruse the text and illustrations and muse about acquiring this much more expensive volume I, I think I shall prick her guilt and dampen her enjoyment just a little, by whispering a reminder in her ear that the clothes dryer has begun to make some interesting noises.

>|: [