Loki and Sigyn on Campus

A New Opportunity for Mischief

A new market has opened in town! This one is actually on property owned by the University, and it supposed to be very convenient for students and visitors to campus.

They opened at 6:00 this morning, and it’s only 10:00 now. Sigyn, do you realize what this means?

All of the shopping carts probably still have wheels that all point in the same direction.

But let’s see if the human female can find all the ways that I *did* make mischief.

One good measure of a market is the produce section. The human female has Opinions on produce.

That is quite a display of Aggie Horticultural Ingenuity! The human female immediately notice a glaring omission, the most famous A&M invention, the Aggie Maroon Carrot. That one was easy. Can you find all the others?

Very good!

Honeycrisp are often the most expensive apples at any given point, but that price is a tad high, even for them. Well-spotted. Still a little too simple, though.

Waiting… Oh! The human male has spotted the next bit of mischief.

Read it again.

Very well. You’ve found the mischief in the produce section. Carry on!

The selection in this store is very obviously geared toward dorm students. There are a myriad of study-break snacks, instant foods, microwavable meals, and shelf after shelf of canned…things.

The humans did not know that there were that many kinds of Vienna sausage on the planet.

Everything is lined up so neatly! No one has had a chance to disarrange anything yet. (I’ll come in and do some of that tonight.) The humans are also marveling at some of the brand names. This is the only store of this chain in the city, so all of its unfamiliar house brands just look like “play” food— or the sorts of knock-offs usually offered by the dollar stores.

The merchandise also seems to skew toward game-day tailgate parties and cookouts. There are huge quantities of grillable meats, a whole wall of sausage, and every kind of sauce one can imagine.

I am very proud of this particular. juxtaposition.

The human male is excited! He has found some of the green salsa sauce that goes very well on nearly anything There’s even a coupon! There is only one, teensy-weensy problem.

*Cough, cough, expiredtwomonthsagocough* Another of my little jokes. The human male has brought it to a clerk’s attention, and someone has just been detailed to go and remove all the coupons from all of the jars.

Let us see. There’s a lot of alcohol, a selection of ice chests, plenty of cookies and chips, and a bakery section with some Sigyn-approved, rather festive, sprinkle-spangled cupcakes.

Ehehe! The human female has found my last bit of mischief. She’s just discovered that there is a whole end-cap of the tortilla chips she likes best, the ones she usually can find only in a Large Market in a Big City. Now that they are this close to hand, she is doomed. Might as well go ahead and buy bigger pants. (Sadly, this store does not carry bigger pants, though you can purchase an Aggie T-shirt.)

All in all, this is a serviceable store, though I doubt it will become the humans’ favorite food emporium. Too close to campus, a bit more expensive than the usual market, and missing some things the humans really like.

Sigyn, what’s your opinion? What’s that? They’ve passed your fail-proof supermarket test?

You’re right. That’s the only thing that matters.

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In Which The Humans Try to Redeem Themselves

The humans–especially the male–still seem to be possessed by the notion of creating the perfect bread. You will recall, perhaps with the same schadenfreude and nostalgic chuckle that I do, their attempts to make homemade pizza crust. It did not, by any stretch of the imagination, go well.

Today they are trying a simple recipe for Amish bread, a white sandwich-style loaf that is made from an enriched dough. Sigyn, shall we help them out–or at least bear witness to the carnage?

Prep time 30 minutes? With these two, I’m betting it’ll be closer to an hour. You’d think two cooks would be twice as fast, but that assumes no one’s getting in anyone else’s way.

And that I’m not involved.

I knew it! The humans are physically incapable of following a recipe precisely.

They’ve already deviated from the stated ingredients in two ways. The human female has reduced the amount of sugar and is planning to substitute some whole wheat flour for one of the cups of white flour. (Woman, it’s bread. If it turns out, you’re going to eat a ton of it, which is not healthy, wholegrain flour notwithstanding.

First, we need to prepare Sigyn’s favorite part.

My love, we’ve had the discussion about leaning out too far over measuring cups.

And be careful around the stove!

The human female told me why we need to scald the milk. She said, “Blah blah, denaturation of enzymes, blah, blah.” I propose a new rule: No science in the kitchen.

Once the milk has cooled, we need a cup of water…

And some sugar–but not as much as in the original recipe–

Yes, my sweet, you can draw a smiley face in the sugar with your finger if you want.

The milk, the water, the yeast, and the sugar all go in one big bowl.

While our “little fungal friends” are doing their thing, we can assemble the other ingredients and tools.

Sigyn likes the look of the foamy, recipe-ready yeast.

I think it looks disgusting, but then, the larval stage of anything is usually unattractive, and I suppose there’s no reason bread should be any different.

Time for the first cup of flour.

Then more flour, oil, and salt.

The first few cups of flour go in easily. After that, the dough gets rather stiff and it takes some real muscle to do the stirring. And then there is ten minutes of kneading!

Come on, humans! Get through this and you can skip arm day at the gym. (I’ve heard mortals say that. I have no idea what it means.)

Stirring and kneading complete! We now have what the human female calls a “dough baby.”

Soft, round, squishy, and makes a mess everywhere. Yep. Baby.

Time for baby to take a little nap in a warm place.

It’s barely warm in here, and the felines can’t play with it. Now, while we wait for it to rise, I suppose we could clean up the mess we’ve made. But gods don’t do dishes, so I’ll leave all the bowls and cups and pans and measuring spoons for the humans to deal with.

(later)

Our dough baby has grown up. Now comes my favorite part of the process–smacking down the risen dough to watch it deflate!

Do I spy a human female handprint? I believe I do!

Morekneadingmorekneadingmorekneadingmorekneadingmorekneadingmorekneading… Ready to shape into loaves.

(later) The loaves have risen and are ready for the oven. Welcome to the human female’s kitchen–the pans don’t match…

…and the loaves don’t either. The female did this one. Look at that unfilled corner!

Sloppy, mortal, sloppy. But into the oven they go!

Now all we can do is wait.

And wait.

And wait. It is starting to smell good in here! It could still go badly wrong, though. The human female could pull the loaves out too early. Or too late. What will it be–soggy bottom or meteorite?

Well, for good or ill, the loaves are out and are cool enough to turn out of the pans.

What do you think, Sigyn? They look all right. But the proof is in the eating. And the verdict is….

Yummy!!! Circle the date on the calendar, the bread is not only edible, it’s actually good.

And it’s going to make awesome toast!

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Slightly Better-Smelling and Definitely Chic

Thank the Norns, Sigyn has finally come down from out of that nasty grape-smelling tree!  I’m sorry, my love, my admiration for you knows no bounds and normally, I’d have no problem spending the afternoon hanging out with you, but Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Not in that thing.

Do come look over here, dearest.  I found some flowers that I bet you will enjoy.

See?

febcampus4

Are they not majestic?  They’re a bit like the ones we have at the house, but much taller, and a bit more yellow about the middle.

Would you like me to get you one of the flowers?  Grounds Maintenance is sure to disapprove, but I don’t care.  If you want one, I will pick it for you.

Great Frigga’s hairpins!

febcampus5

It’s nearly as large as you!

What’s that?  Smell it?  Um, you know that you and I have very different ideas when it comes to the olfactory suitability of botanicals, yes?  But very well.

Anything for you.

febcampus7

Snrff. Snrff.  It’s very strong, and very purfumey.  Puts me in mind of fancy bath salts or something.  But definitely better than that purple-flowered monstrosity from yesterday!

The cup shape in the middle, though…  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

febcampus6

You were!  Delightful, my sweet.  You are springtime personified.

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A Rather Smelly Dangle

Five or so years ago, the human female dragged Sigyn and me all over campus, showing us the all of the flowering trees and shrubs.  Sigyn and I did not exactly agree about the merits of the various floral entities.  Take this one, for example:

febcampus1

First of all, it has a stupid name.  It doesn’t grow only in Texas, we are nowhere near the mountains, it is not a laurel—or even a mountain laurel.

The second part of its slanty name, “secundiflora” is supposed to indicate flowers that are all on one side of the branch.

febcampus2

Even before Sigyn started climbing around in this flower cluster, it certainly wasn’t one-sided.

And then there’s the smell.  Sigyn thinks it’s “heavenly.”  Five years ago, I thought it smelled like fake grape Kool-aid.

febcampus3

Now I think it smells like spoiled fake grape Kool-aid.  Bleargh.

It’s blooming a month or so early, too, so it could get started ruining my spring sooner.

Enjoy your rancid air-freshener, Sigyn, I’m going to go see what else is in flower.  Unless the campus has started planting skunk cabbage, I’m sure I can find something.

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Zooward, Ho!, Part IV: Curiosities from the Antipodes

Sigyn is quite keen to visit the Australia exhibit and study some “cuddlies from Down Under,” as she puts it.

So now the high-pitched noise you hear is my beloved squeeing at the tiny baby joey this mother kangaroo is carrying.

australia-kangaroo1

She’s so excited that she’s forgotten that she has a camera and could capture this precious moment.

Wait…  Something’s going on!  The mother kangaroo is fishing in her pouch and…

australia-kangaroo2

She’s letting Sigyn hold her baby!  Sigyn will be talking about this for months!  I have picked up the dropped camera and now have a photo to prove it really happened. 

It was only with great difficulty that I was able to pry Sigyn from the previous exhibit.

Great Frigga’s corset!  Look, my love! It is quite unusual to see a koala eschew its accustomed arboreal habitat.

elephant-koala

It’s even rarer to find one that has evolved a removable nose!

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Sly little pachyderm!

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I think we’d best alert zoo staff that one of their African Savannah animals has gone walkabout…

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A Very Shiny Tradition, Part V: A Vitreous Lunch, With Some Guests.

All of this glass-gazing and boosting Sigyn up and down have given me an appetite.  All of these fruity paperweights aren’t helping.  Look at all of them!

Apples and pears.

fruit

A cluster of…something.

fruitcluster

Ooh!  And Sigyn’s favorites–strawberries!

strawberries

Don’t eat the green ones. They’re not ripe yet.

Our repast has drawn the attention of some critters (none of whom are vegetarians, but whatever.)

This dragonfly has lacy wings,

dragonfly

but I think there’s something wrong with his eyes

Hey, this one looks a little like Flannel Cat.

kitty

Oh, now we’re talking!  Look at this venomous little beauty!

coralsnake

And more examples of ophidian pulchritude!

snakes

I very much like the spotted one!

And if you look very closely, there’s a little feathery friend for Sigyn here:

hummer

Let’s make sure he doesn’t end up in the same case as the cat.  It looks a little hungry

Well, my dear, did you have a good trip to the museum?  You did?  I’m so glad.  Happy Yule, little one.

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A Very Shiny Tradition, Part IV: I See a Little Silhouetto

This exhibit is sorted by them or type.  Here’s a whole case full of paperweights that have silhouettes in them.

silhouette display

Look, Sigyn!  We can play “I Spy.”

I spy, with my little eye, a weiner dog and two little chickens…

silhouettespread2

Some of the shapes are easily recognizable.  Like this long-tailed tree rat.

squirrel

Or this pelican fellow:

pelicansilhouette

The sign says this one is a goat.  Sigyn says it’s a giraffe with short legs.  Either way, the critter has righteous horns. Two thumbs way up!

giraffesilhouette

This one is supposed to be a horse.  I don’t see it…

horse

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Now I do! The one in the middle is not a silhouette.  It’s a face-on view of a horse with a white blaze.  But what are all the other little shapes?

Perhaps I should bypass the alarm and take some of the more problematic ones home with me to puzzle over at leisure.  Sigyn, which one do you want?

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A Very Shiny Tradition, Part III: A Glass Garden

In the last case, we saw a paperweight that had a lamp-work flower in the middle of the little flowery cut canes.  Here’s another one.

facetedblue

And another.

purpleorangemillifiori

It’s obvious the human female did NOT get a new camera for yule.

Some of the flowers are sort of…generic.  Take this white one:

whitefloweronblue

That could be almost anything.

But quite a few of the paperweights on display have flowers so perfectly wrought that Sigyn can tell what they are meant to be!

There’s a waterlily…

waterlily

And some violets… (Thanks for boosting Sigyn up, mortal.)

violet

An orchid…

orchid

A morning glory —-with a bonus butterfly!

butterfly

A maybe a quince?  Or a peony?

 

quince

Or is this the quince???

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An I’m not sure WHAT this one is.

dischidia

(Fine, maybe they’re not all botanically correct.)

Roses seem to be well-represented.

redandknotweedyellowrosesroses

And then there are a number of bouquets.  Sigyn likes this one because of the blue Veronica flowers.

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The detailon some of these vitreous nosegays is amazing.

nosegay

Sigyn says they look real enough to smell.  Know what they smell like Sigyn?

redflowers

Silicon dioxide with traces of impurities. 

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A Very Shiny Tradition, Part II: I Don’t Know Who Millie Is, But She Has Lots of Flowers

Not all of the paperweights are holiday-themed.  There are a number of the Millie fiori sort.  Sigyn is just fascinated by all the little flowery slices.

moremillefiori

I have seen candy that looks like those.  But again, Sigyn, these are not for eating.

millefiori flowers

How did they get all of those in there??

This one has all the flowers in a basket.

side-millefiori

This is what it looks like from above.

closepackmillifiore

Sigyn really likes this one.  She says the hearts and pansies would be good for Valentine’s Day.  (We might have to come back and look at this again.)

pinkpansy

This one has a lamp-work flower in the middle of the tiny flowers.

whiteflowermillifiore

Ehehehehe!  Looks like someone just swept up all the bits and schnibbles after making all the other paperweights and jammed them all in one big blob.

mishmash

Probably what it would look like if the human female tried her hand at this…

More to come!

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A Very Shiny Tradition, Part I: Seasonal Sparklies

Sigyn and I have a little Yule tradition of our own.  Rather than exchanging gifts, we like to go to a museum as a special treat.  Sigyn is a huge fan of glass paperweights, and one of the art museums on campus has a collection that they rotate through the display cases, so that is where we usually end up.

And here we are!  Look Sigyn, the whole glass area of the museum is paperweights this time!  We’ve hit the paperweight motherlode!

twistycanes

Some of these look like very fancy candy, don’t they, Sigyn?  Pepperminty!

christmassy

I wouldn’t recommend licking one, though.

The tag on this one says it’s a dahlia flower, but it looks plenty poinsettiaty to me.

reddahlia

Ooo!  Look at this green one!  It’s all sharp edges.  I like it.

greenfacets

They say this one is lei-style, with all the little flowery bits in lines.

lei-style

Sigyn thinks it looks like ribbon candy.  She’s not wrong!  (Still wouldn’t lick it, though.)

Oh, and I guess if you don’t celebrate yule, this one might be for you.

blueandwhite

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