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.
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.
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…)
The Eater Bunny has come and gone, with none of the occupants of the house having been eaten. Working from the theory that it is the quality of the offerings that keeps the fell beast from the door, let us examine the basket prepared and see what he found acceptable.
Well, there are flammables.
Good start. I know that *I’m* always on board when incendiaries are involved. But are there edible treats as well?
Sour gummy septopi! Not particularly themed for the holiday, but those are the human female’s favorite. Maybe the vicious lapine interloper likes them too?
Great Frigga’s Corset! This doesn’t look like a seasonal comestible either.
But the human male likes these… Maybe my theory is wrong. Maybe the basket was left by the Eater Bunny to fatten up the humans for later snacking…
There’s a colored egg in here. But it isn’t hard-boiled this year. It’s wooden! And, judging by the crayon scribbles, I think a small child was responsible for its decoration.
But it’s green, and has a good heft for throwing at someone, so it’s mine.
Jordan almonds. Another of the human female’s weaknesses (of which there are many.)
Sigyn is also enthusiastic and has dived right in.
One of the green ones is smaller than all the others. Sigyn wants to make sure it doesn’t get bullied by its larger bagmates. I will be more than glad to help you with that, my love. I will take your little runt over to the corner to (munch, munch) protect it. Yes, that is what I will do.
Norns’ Nighties! There is more candy down here in the bottom! Sigyn is enthralled by the these little bunnies.
There are some similarly-colored-but-different-enough-not-to-be-matchy-matchy waterfowl as well.
I like these a lot, because I know the human female is going to compare, and it will bother her that there aren’t the same number and that the colors do not coordinate. It’s going to make her brain itch that there isn’t a purple duck or an orange rabbit.
Huh. Will you look at that. You can say what you like about my sweetie, but you have to admit…
If it were just chocolate and marshmallow…things… that are bought and set out as propitiatory offerings for the Eater Bunny, it would still be A Lot, but there are also an inordinate number of non-edible items sold for the holiday.
Some have to do with the decoration of the votive egg offerings. (Apparently, plain white eggs are not enough to persuade the rabbit not to eat your offspring.) This box purports to be able to transform your hen fruits into friendly forest creatures.
Sigyn is enchanted. I suspect there will be some ovoid foxes and raccoons in my future.
If she gets to make cute little animals, I want to make these:
Of course, the decorated eggs need to be carefully housed so that they do not break. Real artificial grass is usually the packing material of choice. This kind is green and sparkly.
I approve! I think I’ll buy a bag and feed it to the felines. The human female is always complaining about what a boring job cleaning the litterbox is…
Hmm. I am now looking at a display of other Eater Bunny-adjacent merchandise. There are simple toys.
What do you think, Sigyn> Could the human female manage a twelve-piece puzzle, do you think? Of course, someone else would have to color it for her. (She still has trouble staying inside the lines.)
There is also a huge assortment of plush toys. For weirdness, nothing is going to beat the bunny-eared sloth that the human female found a few years back, but there are some close contenders.
I’m not sure if it’s a rabbit in an egg or or just a rabbit wearing a really uglycrop top. Whichever, I suspect Sigyn has already invited it for lunch on Sunday. (I want to try to watch it eat. Those pathetic little arms are T-rex-ish in their proportions.)
Now hold on just a minute! How did this thing get in here?
There are Eater Bunny Season dinosaurs now? That doesn’t seem right.
On second thought, bring back the brontosaurus. Anything is better than this abomination.
Avaunt ye, thou miscegenated rabbicken! I banish thee to Muspelheim, there to perish in the eternal flames!
I’m actually a little scared now. Sigyn, with such fell creatures roaming the premises, the market is no place for us. Let me just steal this big, solid gold egg,
“What was THAT?!” The humans have just heard a very loud crash from the general direction of the kitchenish area of the house. Thus begins my mischief of the day! The fun is in watching them scurry around trying to determine the cause and the extent of the calamity.
Everything seems fine in the kitchen. Nothing has fallen off the top of the cold box. Nothing has tumbled out of the dish drainer, and the dishwasher is not running, so it’s not an appliance malfunction. All pots and pans seem to be secure.
Perhaps it was in the front bathroom? No, everything is fine here. No shower doors have fallen down, and the litterbox has not exploded. (You laugh, but a match applied to the miasma that Taffy Cat is capable of leaving would have dire consequences indeed.)
Oh, this is too rich! They still haven’t found it! The hanging rod in the front hall closet is firmly in place–no tumbled coats here.
Nothing is amiss in the game room. The teetery stacks of games are all still upright, and the shelf with the printer on it has not collapsed.
The humans are completely flummoxed. They have no clue WHAT that terrible noise was. Ehehehehe! This is even more fun than I thought it would be! I would have been satisfied with the mischief if they had sussed it out right off, but watching them trying to figure it out has been even better.
(later) They still haven’t found it. Oh, well. It is time to start dinner. The human female is fetching the rice from the pantry.
And she’s catching a clue…
Wow! I do good work.
All I did was nudge a five-pound bag of sugar on the top shelf, thinking it would fall on someone’s head in due time. When the human male replaced a roll of aluminum foil up there after lunch, things must have shifted and it fell off the shelf. The bottom shelf was actually a cookie sheet placed atop a wire grid cube. It collapsed under the assault of the sugar, spilling all of its contents against the door.
Dinner will be delayed. There’s a shelf to rebuild and provisions to replace. On the one hand, I’m very impressed with the mess, and the sugar bag leaked a little, so there’s that to clean up as well. On the other hand, I’m a little disappointed that none of the salsa or honey bottles broke. I would pay money to watch the human female try to get honey (or her precious maple syrple!) off the linoleum.
It is a well-established fact that I could not swing a cat, dead or otherwise, in this house without knocking over a pile of books. There are books everywhere. This is part of the humor section.
“Strange Planet” is right! Sometimes Midgard makes no sense at all.
Art and illustration:
As you might expect, there quite a few botanical art volumes. Sigyn likes those.
This the Jumbly Shelf of random fiction. If it’s the human female’s favorite or she just bought it and hasn’t read it yet, it’s probably here.
See that one I’m standing in? She wrote that. It’s full of typos. I know; I looked.
This is human female’s favorite book ever.
It’s not about chess. Historical fiction or something. Last volume of a six-part series. I haven’t read it, so I don’t know how good it is. She says it’s very hard to find this edition anymore. She has the whole set, all with matching purple bindings.
She likes this one very much.
It has plants in it, I think, which is probably why she likes it.
She re-reads this one every year. She’s boring like that.
It’s massively out of print and would be tough to replace.
These are a couple of her favorite paperbacks. Apparently, magic is fine in books but not in housemates. Hypocrite.
She likes those two paperbacks so much she went out and bought hardbacks of them, too. That way she has extra copies she can shoves at people in hopes of making other people read them too.
She always has at least two books going. This is what she’s reading now. Sadly, it is not really about gingerbread. Hmm. Looks like the library was handing out bookmarks.
Oh, ho, ho! There’s another book sale coming up.
The last one was a complete madhouse. And I see that they are accepting donations of used books for the sale. I think I can help with that!
Let’s start with her wonky copy of Sherlock Holmes.
(The Butler did it.)
And then I’ll pile all her other favorites in my little basket too!
Here come the donations!
She’s always encouraging other people to read them. Well, now they’ll be able to!
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