Month: March 2022

It’s a Start

Twice a year, the city sponsors a Household Hazardous Waste Day, where all the citizens can bring and drop off old paint; household chemicals like cleaners; pesticides and other garden products; motor oil; old electronics; and other nasty what-have-yous. They make it very easy–load it all in the trunk of your car, drive up, and Brave and Helpful Volunteers will take out all the unpleasantnesses, sort them, and dispose of them properly.

Fun Fact: the drop-off site is usually the parking lot of the building that houses the herbarium. Once, I saw to it that the human female needed to go work at the herbarium on HHWD. She had to wait in the very long line with everyone else and then do a rapid left turn and outrun all the guards so as to get where she needed to go. They were not amused, but I was!

More often than not, the humans have something else going on that day and are either out of town or unable to wait in the very long line of cars and so don’t participate. They have their waterfowl linearly configured today, though, and have filled the car with all sorts of gleanings from the house and garage. I need to see what they propose to toss, in case they’re disposing of something I might need for future mischief.

There is quite a lot of stuff here.

Astute readers may recognize the sad remains of the human female’s defunct Obsolete Technology Troubles (Ott) light.

Farewell, old friend. I got a lot of mischief mileage out of you!

There are bulbs for the Ott and for a few other things.

I really miss the days of compact fluorescents… The human female was terrified of those things! Nowadays, I have to get my mercury someplace else.

There is a whole bucket-o-oil for the old gas-powered lawn mower the human female no longer has.

Hmm. Lawn mower… Lawn mower… Do you know, the electric one has provided dependable service for two years now. I think it’s time it blew a fuse or had the blade snap off or a wheel fall off or something. If nothing else, the bolts holding the handle to the body could be loosened to good effect. I’ll add that to my To Do list. Thanks for the reminder!

Great Frigga’s Corset! Look at all the old drugs!

You could medicate an army with all this stuff! There is no way I’m letting them get rid of all of this. You never know when you will need to create some wacky or perplexing side-effects or symptoms. Besides, a lot of medicines are (theoretically) good well beyond their “expiration” dates. No, I will definitely be putting some of these back in the medicine cupboard. Next Gaming Weekend, we can play a rousing game of “Is the Rash From the Allergen or the Cream?” or “Do My Swollen-shut Eyes Make My Face Look Fat”?

Won’t that be fun?

(a bit later)

I’ve sorted through all of it and will let them haul most of it off, keeping only the really good stuff for myself. It’s a start, I suppose, on making the house safer for the inhabitants. There’s still half the garage to do, though, and some under-sink spaces. Oh, and the freezer. There are containers of the human female’s cooking in there, and that some of that stuff could kill

>|: [

P. S. The WORST household hazardous waste is what Taffy Cat leaves in the litterbox…

Squee! (Wildflower Wednesday, Sigyn Speaks)

We found the most beautiful flower on our walk today! It was right along a busy road, where we have been dozens of times, but we had never seen it before. It’s not very common here at all, so I feel so lucky!

Veronica persica, Persian speedwell. The flowers are about four times as large as the common sort I found last week. Isn’t it the most gorgeous color ever? Like a little piece of sky that fell down into the grass. Hee hee hee! It’s almost enough to make me change my favorite color to blue.

Hmm… I wonder if Veronicas come in red…?

: )

A Treasure Among Treasures

The human female likes vegetables. I don’t mean she likes to eat them–I mean, she does,* but that’s not what I am talking about. She likes to just look at them as well. There are vegetables on the tea towels, vegetables on the pot holders, vegetables everywhere!

She has a large, dust-gathering collection of ceramic vegetable…things. They all live in this big white cabinet she calls The Behemoth. (Rumor has it that it’s an old chemical cabinet that came out of a lab on campus that was being renovated. Supposedly she bribed one of the workmen to take it off the wall in one piece rather than break it up and throw it away. I don’t know if that’s true, but the stoopid thing is about seven feet tall and must weigh nearly as much as she does.)

See? It’s completely full! There are even vegetables hanging from the knobs.

The biggest thing in here is an enormous pumpkin that the human female’s mother made.

The female likes to put the candy in it every October 31st. I’m always tempted to grab a Sharpie and draw a hideous face on it, but the human female has never sat still long enough for me to capture a good likeness.

Her mother also made all of these veggies.

Except for the little pumpkins, which are salt and pepper shakers, these don’t serve any useful purpose whatsoever. But I wonder if I can put the potato in the pantry and watch her try to peel it some evening when she’s trying to cook while tired…

More mother-made things. The carrots are a canister, and the big corn thing is a tureen.

One of the other corns came from an antique shop, but I don’t know which one (and I don’t really care, either.)

More corn, and another pumpkin.

I think an aunt is responsible for the metal pumpkin. It’s a serving bowl that can double as a weapon. I like that in a knick-knack.

I introduce all of these tchotchkes because, Norns save us, the human female has brought home another botanical ceramic…thing.

I’m not entirely sure what it is. My first thought was “onion,” but onions don’t have stems. I don’t think it’s any vegetable I’ve ever seen. My current guess is “fig,” which would be unfortunate, because it would signal an expansion of the horticultural tackiness to include fruits as well as vegetables. I’ve no idea where she’s going to cram this thing in, let alone anything further!

It has a lid, so presumably it’s meant to hold something, but it’s too small for a canister and has no drain holes, so I suspect it will just gather dust.

Ehehehe. My mistake. It’s already full and contains a treasure of inestimable worth.

Yes, love, I *am* surprised. I thought you were over at Muffy’s. How long have you been hiding in there? It’s lunchtime. Are you ready to come out? Can you reach?

Hang in there, sweetie, Loki’s coming!

>|: [

*Except for beets. Beets make her want to puke.

Someone’s Mischief is More Potent Than My Own

I mentioned last week that there seems to be a lot of citrus fruit about the house recently. And why not? It’s tasty, refreshing, and nutritious. Even that ghastly-looking blood orange was nicely edible, once I shut my eyes.

Today, Sigyn and I have stumbled upon something the humans must have bought on one of their forays to Odd and Unusual Grocetoria.

Hmm. Freeze-dried tangerine… It would never have occurred to me to do that. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t one of the best features of citrus fruit their abundant juice? What’s left of a tangerine if you take that away? Sigyn, fancy a bit of a nosh?

Let’s shake some out of the package and see what they look like.

Huh. Sure enough, they look like tangerine sections that have played a little too much beach volleyball in the hot sun. Recognizably citrus bits, to be sure, but feather-light and as dry as a mummy.

How do they taste?

(nibble nibble nibble)

Idunn’s Little Green Apples! Bleargh! Feh! <spit, spit, spit> There is nothing like a good tangerine, and those are NOTHING like a good tangerine! They manage to be bitter, acid, and weirdly petroleum-adjacent, all at the same time.

I cannot imagine a single culinary use to which these could be put, unless the goal was offering them to a guest that one desired to be rid of. Urrrr. I stopped after one bite and I’m still shuddering. I may have to lick a bus station floor to get the taste out of my mouth. Sigyn is similarly unimpressed. Whoever came up with these has a heart blacker than my own and not the smallest particle of love for his fellow man.

Another bite? No thank you! Loki out!

>|: b

The First Good Neener Walk of the Year (Sigyn Speaks)

I think I’ll celebrate the arrival of spring with a walk along the Neener Path by the big ugly apartments that sit where the neighborhood pond used to be! Loki is busy tinkering with some mischief and says he’s too busy today and that if both the humans go I’ll probably be safe, as long as I don’t try to cross the creek. I’ll miss his company, but I guess that means more flowers for me!

The bur-clover is such a cheerful yellow!

The wood-sorrel is exactly the same color. Isn’t that neat?

And look! Here’s some yellow growing out of a crack in a retaining wall. The human female says these are called straggler daisy.

More yellow! This is oriental false hawksbeard. It’s not native, but it’s cute.

It’s like little dandelions on stilts!

I just love real dandelions! They’re so soft and sunny!

Sometimes you just have to smoosh your face into a flower and give it a big hug!

There is plenty of purple around too. The little wild sweet peas are sort of reddish-purple.

And so is the henbit (which I always think looks like little hand-puppets!):

But what’s this little blue flower next to the henbit?

I think I remember these from last year… What was their name?

Oh! Now I remember! They’re one of the little speedwells! So tiny!!!

Shepherd’s purse has tiny flowers, too, but the plants are bigger.

Squee! The heart-shaped fruits are so cute!

It’s sort of a toss-up as to which are cuter, speedwell flowers or shepherd’s purse or bluets.

Sherardia is like bluets, only smaller and more purple-lavender and less blue.

I could be happy just lying around in them all day.

Ohmygoodness! Ohmygoodness! Look!!

WHITE Sherardia flowers!!! I didn’t know they came in white.

Veronica and bluets and sherardia and a lot of other things blooming now are so little that I can’t try them on. No floral millinery today!

The spring beauties would be more than big enough to wear as hats…

But there are only a few of them, so I will let them be and just enjoy their pink stripes.

What is this?

Oh, I see now! Not flowers, but moss with little spore capsules! Loki will be sorry not to have come. He likes to lie in moss as much as I like to lie in sherardia and bluets!

I miss Loki. Walks are always better with him. I know! I’ll take him a souvenir. There’s a very pretty leaf on the path here…

Ooops! Hee hee hee! It’s not a real leaf! It’s a fabric one off some fake houseplant. But it’s very colorful!

Red and green! My color and Loki’s! He’ll like it, and he’ll have a good laugh at how I thought it was real for a moment. But it’s awfully big. I’m not sure I can carry it all the way home. If I asked the human female nicely, do you think she would put it in her jacket pocket?

Isn’t spring wonderful?!

: )

A Most Brassicaceous Goose-chase

The human female is back at work on the BBBB (Big Book of Boring Botany) and has reached the “D” portion of the mustard family. Let’s see how she gets on with the little surprises I’ve lined up for her today.

Having dealt with Descurainia, she has turned her attention to Draba. These are usually small plants with a rosette of leaves at the bottom and little white flowers up top. Sorting the species out involves looking at the fruit shape, counting stem leaves, and looking closely at the hairs on various parts and seeing how many rays or branches each little hair has.

Definitely requires magnification.

You can see the human female’s scribble on this sheet:

She’s trying to justify her annotation, just on the extremely remote off-chance that someone else will ever care enough about these weeds to look at this sheet again and care what she thought.

Time for a wild goose chase!

She has come up with an identification for this sheet…

But when she looks in the database, the record for this accession number is not a Draba at all, it’s a mustard called Erysimum asperrimum, collected on the same date in the same county and by the same collector. So now she has to go and find that sheet and see if it was entered with the wrong number while this one was somehow not entered at all. (She has found a number of old sheets that were never computerized.)

Ehehehehe! She couldn’t find the other sheet in the collection, so maybe it doesn’t exist and the computer record is for the Draba sheet after all and was just put in with the wrong name. (Student workers have been known to just bring up a previous record and not edit it completely or correctly.) Before she changes anything, though, she is going to check whether the Draba was perhaps computerized with the wrong accession number. She’s doing a search for the collector’s field number, 36980.

Hmm. Looks like the collector has another specimen with the same collection number, something in another family in another county. Now she’s going to have to go find that specimen and make sure it wasn’t put in with the wrong field number.

And there it is! It’s a Bernardia (in the spurge family) from Val Verde County, and it has the exact same field number as the Draba. Old Victor L. Cory used the same number twice, which is a no-no. (At least he used them. His sometime-collecting-partner, H. B. Parks, frequently didn’t bother with a number at all.)

It’s getting later and later and more and more obfuscated. She was due home for dinner a while ago and has been scurrying from one end of the collection to the other for twenty minutes now, trying to sort this all out and leave for the day. Quick, woman! Make a decision!

Or else just leave it for now.

After all, I can always just add this mischief to what I have planned for tomorrow!

>|: [

Too Much of a Good Thing

The humans have been eating a lot of citrus fruit lately. I like a good hesperidium myself, so I’ve no objection to sampling what they bring home. Last week it was some very pleasant Cara Cara oranges, and yesterday I enjoyed a grapefruit.

Looks like the human male has helped himself to half an orange. Sigyn, want to split the other half with me?

Odin’s Monocular Vision!

I have seen blood oranges before, and usually they’re just suffused with a little red inside, as if they’d been kicked around a bit, but this one looks like it is hemorrhaging! I mean, there’s “bloody” and then there’s “slasher-film bloody.” This might be a little gory even for me

>|: [

If A Letter Could Talk, This One Would Say, “Ow.”

Hmm. What mischief shall I get up to today?

I know! It has been a while since I mischiefied the post in a significant manner. (I did make sure one of the human female’s parcels went astray, but wouldn’t you know? The person to whom it was misdelivered just brought it by. Spoiled all my fun.)

Here you go, wench. This came for you today.

It’s from your Friendly Neighborhood Healthcare Provider and looks Very Official. It also looks as if it went a few rounds with the same folks that handle airline baggage. If they had to tape the outside all back together, what in the Nine Realms is the inside going to look like? (I just made the suggestion that they have fun with it; I left the specifics up to them, and they appear to have come through in spades.)

Great Frigga’s Hairpins!

It is a check! Or, rather, half a check and another half a check. The human female is going to have to try to tape it back together without interfering with the magnetic routing and check numbers on the bottom. And wouldn’t it be funny if the bank processed it in two payments of seven dollars and 41.5 cents each?

Also, you can be sure I am not done having fun with this yet! The check is for an oddly specific amount–fourteen dollars and eighty-three cents. It says it’s for “overpayment,” but the documentation on the inside of the front says “Admission date 3/12/2022” and “Discharge date 3/12/2022”, and the human female hasn’t been anywhere near a hospital or clinic at all this month, so she has no clue what it’s for. I’m going to get to watch her waste part of a day trying to get someone to tell her what the check is really all about and determine if it’s something she’s just going to have to turn around and repay when all the various groups of bean counters have finished comparing notes.

Stay tuned…

>|: [

Up, Up, And Away! (Sigyn Speaks)

I’m so excited!! The parish that the humans and I belong to has been wanting to build a new church forever, and it’s finally happening! They poured the concrete last year, the steel framing is nearly done, and today the dome goes on!! They built it on the ground and are going to put it on with a ginormous crane. Someone says it weighs 42,000 pounds. I hope it’s a very strong crane!

You can’t see it, but there’s a pretty good-sized crowd waiting and watching. (They’re all behind me because I’m in front–I’m so short I couldn’t see otherwise!)

Oh! Oh! It’s going up!!!

Now they’re starting to swing it around…

Going down!

Oh, I hope it fits! Wouldn’t it be awful if it didn’t?

Whew! It’s going to fit fine! They just have to even some spots out and weld it on.

Hooray!!! That little open space in the side is in case someone has to go inside for anything.

I’m so glad I got up early–you don’t see something like this every day. I can’t wait til it’s all finished!!

: )

P.S. by Loki: I was specifically NOT invited to today’s events. In fact, I have been told in no uncertain words by everyone from the bishop on down that if I meddle with the construction of this edifice there will be Consequences. However, no one said anything about mischief involving other aspects of the new church. That is why the dome went up today without the statue that is supposed to go on top. When the statue of the lady and the tot arrived and was inspected, it was discovered to be made of much thinner material than promised, rather flimsy and cheap. There were actual holes in it. The pastor opined that he was fearful it might explode if struck by lightning. It was supposed to have been made in this country, but it turned out to have been manufactured in China, and (ehehehe!) the figures had been molded with distinctly Asian features. I’m told it was returned for a refund and that a new statue has been ordered from a firm here in Texas. We shall see what that one looks like when it comes, shan’t we?

The Big City to the South Always Makes Me Hungry

It has been a long day! First the museum, then the pens and the posies, then a whole series of various shops and markets, most of which we’ve been to before. All of this running around has made us all hungry.

We had poke bowls for lunch, something I had tried before. I was predisposed to like it, since poking things is a big part of what I do. This particular poketorium let us choose what we wanted in the bowl. Neither Sigyn nor I are enthused about raw fish, so we shared a bowl with chicken, tofu, leafy greens, avocado, mandarin oranges, a bit of pineapple, and a lot of sesame seeds.

Pretty tasty!

But now we are at the end of our expedition, and there can be no question about where we shall dine before taking the road for home. Time for the Sushi-go-Round!

An order of gyoza is mandatory.

Sigyn likes the dipping sauce so much she is contemplating swimming in it. Dearest, may I suggest you not? It would be a long, sticky ride home in wet velvet.

The human female and Sigyn like the vegetable-filled hand rolls.

Which is funny, because you’d think it’d be me who wanted the green food on the green plate, but no. (I don’t like nori that much.)

I am, however, all about the shrimp avocado rolls.

The human male ordered an avocado hand roll (like the veggie roll but with only avocado) and this showed up by mistake. We ate it anyway.

And, finally, there can be only one way to end such a full and self-indulgent way—with the most self-indulgent dessert there is.

Fish waffles!

The humans never get tired of taiyaki. Neither do Sigyn and I. This time, the human male ordered his fish-shaped waffle full of purple taro goo.

Sir, I believe your fish has sprung a leak.

The human female has opted for horchata-flavored soft-serve and a fish full of sweet, red beany goo.

Sigyn has graciously offered to help her with it. I’m still deciding… The matcha soft-serve is green, but I’m not sure I want tea-flavored ice cream.

Fun fact: When we were here last, I thought that the servers ripped the faces off the fish so they could fill them before upending them in the ice cream, and I offered to eat all the ripped-off fish faces. Turns out that the open-mouthed fish with ice cream are a Korean interpretation of the Japanese taiyaki and are called ah-boong. They are made with their mouths open. There is no bucket of delicious, ripped-off fish faces.

Taiyaki, ah-boong,

You’re so delicious.

I like you more

Than all the other fishes!

>|: 9