Man does not live by fizzy water alone—assuming, of course, that he has any fizzy water. As we have seen, the presence of any particular carbonated beverage cannot be assured.
The human male is fond of trying strange flavors of potato chips. And he has lots of options! If there’s one thing that continues to baffle me about this planet, it’s the propensity of the residents to try to shoehorn the most outlandish, least intuitive flavors into chips.
Here are some of the more daring offerings I’ve noted recently.
Not just chicken, mind you, but chicken sandwich. Complete with essence of dill pickle slice. Urrrrr.
Or how about cocktail-flavored chips?
Or chips with pretensions of being other fried snack foods?
Then there’s these:
I can’t even anymore.
Oh, wait! These! You have to buy and try some of these! They’re not potato chips, but come on! It’s a moral imperative!
I never thought about it before, but now it’s going to keep me up at night: Just what does a chupacabra taste like?
The human male loves his fizzy water. He has cases and cases in the garage, all stacked up in a pile I like to call Mount Fizzmore. It’s a healthier alternative to soda, and since some of it comes laden with caffeine, it assures a modicum of normal functionality. Also, it tastes a Hel of a lot better than the local tap water, which has nothing at all to recommend it, other than being so naturally soft that a molecule of soap makes enough suds to wash a rhino.
Some of his preferred flavors are readily available. Others I have cursed so that they can no longer be had for love nor money. (Apple Bubly, anyone?) Still others are only occasionally findable. The blood orange flavor is one such.
Here’s one of the last cans he has.
Shake, shake shake.
It feels a little light. Actually, it feels a LOT light. I don’t think it’s full.
I was laughing the other day, listening to the humans grumble while cleaning up simultaneous barfage from both cats at once. Then I had the notion that it would be even more amusing–and an actual kindness to the humans– to turn the felines into something useful, if only for a little bit. If the furry minions weren’t cats, what could they be?
Flannel Cat, obviously, would make an excellent sofa cushion. Warm, soft, squishy. Not very bright.
Or maybe packing peanuts, because you can always get more into a box than you thought.
“If I fits, I sits.”
Taffy Cat, on the other hand, has done so well with the training I’ve been giving her that there’s really only one option.
We did, indeed, continue our day in the Big City to the West with a visit to a Japanese home goods store, the Japanese stationery and book emporium, and the enormous Asian grocery store. Miraculously, we did not purchase anything in any of them. How does that even happen? Are you humans sure you are feeling all right?
As we so often do, we are finishing our trip to the a Big City with a trip to the Large Market. The produce is the first section inside the entrance. There are no new varieties of apple today, so the human female is a little bummed, but Sigyn is just enchanted by the new mushroom incubators they’ve put in.
She wants to know if we can put one in the house, but since mildew is a fungus, I think we already have more than our fair share of fungi in the bathroom.
I am quite intrigued by these heirloom tomatoes.
The green ones are nice enough, but any wolf peach so black it matches my soul has got to take first place in my dark little heart.
This is a very confusing sign.
They in no way resemble chili/chile peppers, so I’m guessing they mean that these pears are from Chile, which is impressive. Pears do not travel well, being thin-skinned and prone to poke one another with their stems when they get bored in transit. But just what part of these is supposed to be flamingo-ish? (They certainly can’t be part pear and part flamingo because, sadly, genetics just doesn’t work that way. Although it does give me some ideas…)
My last mischief of the day, (other than seeing that the first two stops the humans make to use the restroom before hitting the road are sans working plumbing), is to ensure that the humans’ favorite brand of tiny pretzels is unavailable. While they search just to make sure a bag hasn’t gotten wedged behind something else, I’m going to go look at the floral section with my sweetie.
This display of bouquets in all sorts of warm colors is exactly to Sigyn’s taste.
But it could maybe use more yellow…
That is a lovely arrangement, Sigyn. The fringe-y white tulips are especially nice and the grouping as a whole would make a very pretty wedding bouquet. But it gives me the most horrible feeling that you and I forgot to celebrate our maybe-wedding anniversary this year. Let’s plan to make up for it sometime soon, yes?
Given the presence of an Asian market within a ten mile radius, the likelihood of the humans checking it out approaches 87%. Therefore, it is no surprise that there is more than one in the game plan for today’s visit to the Big City to the West.
Our first stop is a Japanese grocery and gift shop we have visited before. Sigyn loves this place. It’s where we got the moon-faced bun man last year. They have them again today, but Sigyn is thinking that today she wants to try one of the kitty-faced ones.
That’s almost as vacant an expression as Flannel’s.
While Sigyn is looking at sweets, I am examining their selection of home-made rice packets wrapped in leaves.
Slap some numbers on one of these and you’ll have yourself an oversized, edible, four-sided die.
Great Frigga’s Hairpins! Sigyn, come look!
It’s a veritable rainbow of delicious, delicious ice cream mochi! I’d ask which kind you want, but since I have my own little pocket dimension in which to sequester things, I say we just take a box of each and figure out which one is the best later.
Yikes! Look at the size of this gobo root!
The human female is always moaning about having to weed the yards. New goal: track down the seeds of this plant and put some all around the property, preferably alongside something with shallow, delicate roots that cannot be disturbed. I want to watch her try to get one of these out in one piece!
What have you found now, Sigyn?
Ah. I know what that is, even without looking at the sign. It’s a set of figures representing the twelve animals of the Asian zodiac. This year is the year of the Tiger. I haven’t checked, but I feel sure I must be a Tiger or Dragon–or after that Svadilfari business, perhaps Horse is more fitting. Sigyn is undoubtedly a Rabbit, she’s so tiny and cute and mild-mannered. Having seen the human female when cake is involved, I think it’s safe to mark her down for “Pig.”
The human male has bought some apple mochi (Just mochi, sadly. Not ice cream ones) and some instant noodly things. While he’s checking out, Sigyn is having one last look around.
She has the happy ability to make friends wherever she goes. We haven’t been here twenty minutes and she’s already been invited to join the yoga class!
Next stop, the game store in the Asian strip mall. It’s not necessarily oriental, just conveniently located.
Well, this looks like a fun one.
I have been the only person at a party with an axe before, and it was indeed a very good time.
Human female, where did you go? Come over here and look at this:
Someone put your face on a game without your permission.
The humans had some business in the Big City to the West today. Sigyn and I have tagged along on this jaunt because, the business being now concluded, we have some serious poking and marketing to do.
Sigyn and the human female have been sweetly cajoling—well, Sigyn has been sweetly cajoling and the human female has been whining–so our first stop is a bead shop. Norns save us.
I should have brought a book. It is going to take forever for those two to look at everything! The selection of seed beads alone is astonishing.
I am surprised. Sigyn usually hummingbirds right toward the reds, but today her attention seems to have been caught by these metallic beads. Gold is very godly, so if you want some, Sigyn, I will get some for you. I could use anything you don’t require to jazz up my wardrobe a bit.
Okay, now she’s found her element.
What would you do with several hundred fist-sized beads?
Or with these fancy jars of what looks like colored sugar?
The human female says “AB” stands for “Aurora Borealis” and describes a particular sort of luster coating that is applied to the tiny glass beads. I’m not sure about that. I think it stands for “A Bunch,” and is put on jars of beads whose contents the jar-fillers didn’t bother to count.
Ehehehe! I know that “Miyuki” is a manufacturer and that these are beads meant to space out larger beads on a strand,
But you can’t tell me that doesn’t sound like some sort of futuristic, intergalactic basketball team.
All of the sparkly enticements have quite gone to Sigyn’s head. My sweetie has just discovered that strings of 3 mm Czech fire-polished beads are the exact right size for swinging on.
We may be asked to leave. I don’t think the proprietors mind so much about the swinging. It’s the little, Sigyn-sized Tarzan yells they don’t appreciate.
Perhaps, my love, a strategic retreat is called for…
Some of my minions who receive notification of my exploits via email have let me know that the messages have started to come through minus the tags at the bottom. Since some of my best snark is often in the tags, I find this infuriating. Everyone should have access to all of my thoughts and stream of consciousness ramblings. I am consulting with WordPress about this. Until there is a resolution, I believe you can click the title in an opened email and be directed to the website, where you can enjoy the fullness of my musings. Or just go straight there. lokispeaks.wordpress.com
It’s a beautiful day, and the flowers are out en masse.
That photo doesn’t begin to show what’s out here. There are all sorts of brightly-colored posies nestled down in the grass, there are sweeps of purple phlox in other parts of the park, and it looks for all the world as if some cosmic box of crayons has had been overturned out here. Sigyn is beside herself.
Various groups are setting up tables. I can see the local Master Naturalists over there, and I think that set-aside area is for kids to do coloring and painting. The human female has waited until the last minute to make a sign for her table.
She hasn’t even opened the markers yet.
It’s a small selection, but it includes the two most important colors.
It’s not the worst poster I’ve ever seen, but it’s a bit crude, don’t you think?
Looks like she’s doing the same thing she did last time, trying to show off. Just to take her down a peg or three, I’ll make sure that everyone who stops by asks a non-wildflower question. Let’s see what she knows about tomatoes, roses, and weird groundcover things from California. That ought to make her twitch.
The human male got dragged along this year, and he has set up a table about wildflower photography. He’s getting more questions than the human female! It’s amazing how many people own fancy cameras and don’t know how to use them, or who don’t know that cellphone cameras do a pretty decent job. That’s what I use to get all my great photos of Sigyn and flowers. If it’s good enough for a god, it should be good enough for anybody!
Looks like drawing is happening in between questions.
I think this is another one of her drawings that the human female is going to try to turn into a pattern for counted cross-stitch. Hmm. I’m no embroiderer, but I can tell that this little grass is going to be all backstitch and isolated cross-stitches. It will be a beast to chart and a pain to stitch. I love it so much!
I’m getting bored. What further mischief can I get up to? I already made sure the sketchbook got when when the ceiling fell in in the craft room last year, so I don’t need to tip anything over on it today.
I know! It’s pretty breezy today. If I put a little godly energy behind it, I bet I can get a veritable gale going. Done! Everyone’s phone is now going off with Wind Advisories and Fire Danger warnings. Everything on the table is trying to fly away, and folks are scrambling for rocks to keep everything in place.
See those wildflower cross-stitch charts the human female made and brought for giving away? I can make the wind blow hard enough to flip up the paper and…
Move the rock! Watch out, Sigyn, it’s about to go! And as you are very petite, better stick close to me, or you may find yourself airborne as well!
Ehehehe! The entire event is trying to pick up and head for the next county over. Oak catkins are being flung off the trees and the air is now, by my reckoning, 62%pollen. The humans will be miserable for about forty-eight hours now, antihistamines notwithstanding. Between windburn and the sunburn the human female is getting from the light bouncing off her sketchbook and up under her hat, she’s going to finish the day all swollen, red, sore, itchy, and dehydrated. Not a good look for her, but I try not to look at her anyway, so it’s all good.
Aha! Refreshments have arrived. It’s always interesting to see what a caterer thinks belongs in a box lunch. Sigyn is excited that there is a cookie.
Dearest, I hate to break it to you, but if you look, that “cookie” bag has lettuce, pickle, and tomato for putting on the little sandwiches. The human female specifically requested “no cookie,” since she’s trying to be better about sweets. However, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there is one at the bottom of the box anyway, just for an extra bit of tempting mischief. I’ll let her decide whether to sabotage her healthy eating plan. Sometimes, if I give her an opening, she mischiefies herself.
I think we are wrapping things up. There are no more plant-related questions. Aside, that is, from, “What sort of self-entitled idiot stands astride the ‘Please do not stand in the bluebonnets’ sign to get a photo of his two ugly offspring sitting in/flattening down another chunk of bluebonnets?” And people say *I’m* an asshole…
Did you have fun today Sigyn? I know I did, and I’ll have even more tonight and tomorrow as the humans try to find the right combination of antihistamines, eye drops, lotion, and hydration to achieve normal functioning. Gosh, I love spring!
Well, no you’re not. It is no surprise AT ALL that the human female and Sigyn will take every opportunity offered to go out and snoop around in the forest. No excuse is too small! Sun’s out? Time to botanize! Heard the X was blooming? Let’s go see! It’s a day that ends in “Y”? Grab your hat and sunscreen and water, ’cause we’re headin’ out!
The objective today is to locate a stand of trees that the human female saw last autumn but could not identify. She thinks they might be Carolina laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana). The cultivated shrubs of that species are flowering right now, and if she can catch the ones in the woods in flower, she will be able to key them out. (I know what the plant is, but I’m not telling. I’m here just to enjoy my own joke. Well, that and to keep Sigyn from getting lost.)
So here we are, tramp, tramp, tramp, stopping to look at every little thing blooming beside the trail. Come on, woman! I have places to go today; people to annoy. Find your mystery trees, slap a name on ’em, and have done with it!
Odin’s Eyepatch! We’re pausing again! What is it this time? Ah. I see. We have stumbled upon a patch of V.I.V.s.
Very Inviting Violets. These are awfully pale, though.
They are barely lavender. Usually, they’re a good, solid purple.
I agree, my love. They are beautiful, and they do appear to have “little cat whiskers.”
This is rather pretty–we have reached the Great Desolation, A.K.A. the cut that houses the inflow line to the water treatment plant. The morning is just cool enough that we have a nice bit of fog.
I actually like a good fog. You can hide any amount of mischief in it…
And now we’re back in the woods proper. There’s a bit of color in this clearing. Most of it is blue.
But a fair amount is yellow
The effect together is very pleasing. Sigyn, make note of where those white flowers are so we can find the plants again later. Unless I miss my guess, they are blackberry flowers. I’m sure the human female could tell us the fancy slanty name for them, but I’d like to offer a new and appropriate common name. Behold, Cobbler Plant! That’s the best thing to do with blackberries.
(a bit later)
Is the human female ever going to find her mystery plants I mischiefied? My tummy clock says we skipped breakfast and it’s time for brunch or lunch or something.
Here we go! They’re not quite where she remembers them being, but we got here eventually.
Ehehehe! Look at her face! She’s completely discombobulated. I broke the botanist!
Come look, Sigyn, and see what’s got her taxonomic knickers in a twist. See the underside of that leaf, where all the rusty brown hairs are?
No? Me neither! Because there ARE NONE!! Ta da!!
So what is this plant? It’s not Carolina laurelcherry. That one has evergreen leaves, and the new, soft growth here means this plant is deciduous. It is also missing the two wet-looking, darkish glands at the base of the leaf. Those are a dead giveaway for P. caroliniana. The leaves aren’t furry, so that rules out Mexican plum. The only reasonable option left is black cherry, Prunus serotina, but that is supposed to have tan hairs on either side of the midrib on the lower surface, and this one is bald as bald can be!
The human female is finding it hard to believe that I would take the time and trouble to remove the hairs on everyleaf of every plant of this species in this part of the woods. Oh, mortal, I would go a lot further than that to make you feel stupid, believe me.
Wait–we’re finally going home? Oh, I see. She wants to consult her collection of botanical tomes before either deciding on an identification one way or the other. Sounds good to me. All of this traipsing about in damp woods making the wet hem of my cloak cling around my ankles, so I’m more than ready to leave. I can watch her be confused just as well back at the house.
Mystery solved and mischief managed. The human female, after consulting the references, has verified that, yes, occasionally, Prunus serotina can have hairless leaves.
Loose ends that remain unraveled: The human female’s little coin purse is still soaking and still discharing blue dye. Roofer number five still has not come with the insurance check for the humans to countersign so, technically, we are all sleeping under a roof that has not been paid for. The human female superglued the magnet that is tall enough to mash down the door-closed sensor to the inside of her car door, and now the car does actually acknowledge that the driver’s door is shut. BUT. The rear passenger side door still refuses to lock and is still wedged locked with a wad of paper. Meanwhile, I’ve had the Tire-Pressure-Monitoring-System-is Kaput light go out. Does that mean the sensor is working again, or that it is so broken that it can’t even say how broken it is. Supposedly the dealership has the part is on order; it was supposed to be in last Tuesday but no word has announced its arrival. The dealership did call, however, unrolling a whole spiel about how they got distracted by a last minute oil change and they were sorry they didn’t get to her car about the thingummy that is not a sensor and…wait. This is not Mrs. Harrison? Um, no. Cue frantic search for the human female’s paperwork. Cluelessness abounds!
The humans and Sigyn were very occupied over the last week with various churchy activities. I was distinctly NOT invited to participate in any of the liturgies, but I did want them to know that the Norse God of Mischief was still thinking of them…
While running a bit late to one of the services, the human male discovered that, at my urging, Flannel Cat had helpfully, harf-fully decorated not only the outside of the shoes he needed to wear, but the insides as well. I have tried to teach the felines the importance of being thorough, and I think it’s paying off!
I nudged the weather, and it was a glorious combination of possible dangerous storms, roaring winds and flying pollen, and good-gravy-if-this-is-April-what-will-August-be-like? heat and mugginess. The human female toted a sweater and an umbrella to church and needed neither. Or when she did need the sweater, she very frantically unneeded it a short time later, red-faced and sweating, because that is How Things Are around here.
The human female did not sing in the choir this year on account of feeling a bit punk. She did turn up to help clean the church beforehand, however. I approve of her having to do manual labor, so I was kind and only made sure she got the nearly-empty can of spray cleaner. Oh, and I guess shoving her off the small platform that houses the organ she was dusting counts too. You should see the big, red, bruisy scuff mark on her knee. It’s a thing of beauty.
There were plenty of opportunities for non-harmful, merely playful mischief during the solemn vigil liturgy on Saturday night. I was banned, of course, but I saw to it that the big candle the male was tasked with processing in went out twice between the bonfire and the church door. I made sure the wireless mic’s batteries went out on the pastor, I made the choir miss a cue and start singing before a lector could repeat a reading in Spanish, I turned the page so the prayer intentions got read out of order, and if you guessed it was me who saw that the male, who was carrying the bowl of holy water for the priest, got a faceful of back-swing droplets for every wave of sprig-sprinkled water aimed at the congregation, you would be right. I also saw to it that there was a large fellow with a boomy, not-quite-on-pitch voice singing with great gusto right behind the human female in two out of the three liturgies. (Different fellow each time. No one should have to sit near her twice.) Oh, and most of the good stuff was already eaten by the time the human female got a break from kitchen duties and could get to the reception. The closest she got to the chicken was what she got on her white shirt carrying away the empty pan.
I also had some fun with a little gift the humans were given by one of the families at the basket blessing. Just like last year, someone gave them a butter sheep. I gave it a good shove on the drive home, which “rearranged” its physiognomy somewhat.
Don’t be sad, Sigyn. I’m sure it will be just as delicious happy with a smooshy face as not. Anyway, I have left some of your favorite parts of the season completely unmeddled-with.
And before you call me a monster, I’ll have you know that the human female got unexpected rewards vouchers both from the place she has bought her silly postage stamps and the store where she recently purchased a staggering amount of embroidery thread. Essentially, she was able to get some free stamps and some free thread. It put her in a good mood for days, but I whispered to her that the universe can’t be that friendly, and it surely means that mischief of some sort is surely headed her way. (And if the universe won’t oblige, yours truly can certainly make it happen…)