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C’est Très Exotique! (Sigyn Speaks)

Loki wrote about the plants we found on the new home site.  Today I want to show you some of the more exotic things we’ve found in the neighborhood!

The first one is right out in the front flowerbed!


The lady grew it from a seed.  It comes back every year and makes these enormous, ballerina-pink flowers.  I don’t know what its name is, but I think it may be a cousin of hibiscus.

Hee hee hee!  This one’s in a pot in the driveway.


˙ɐᴉuʍopᴉsdn ɐᴉuʎƃᴉS ʇᴉ sllɐɔ ᴉʞo˥ ˙ʎlᴉɯɐɟ ʇǝloᴉʌ uɐɔᴉɹɟ∀ ǝɥʇ uᴉ s,ʇI

This bush is down the street.  It doesn’t look like much until it blooms and then wow!  Pale pink petals and looong red stamens.  Know what it is?


It’s a pineapple guava!  I can’t wait to come back later and see if it makes fruit–they really do taste a little like pineapple! And the flowers are edible too!  (But too pretty to eat!)

This tree is actually native, but isn’t it fun and tropical-looking?


Teeny little leaflets and bright yellow flowers!  I have to dangle carefully, though, since it has some very pokey prickles!  One of its names is palo verde because the trunk is green.

These blossoms are amazing!  I always think passionflowers look as if they’re from another planet, with all the extra bits and the bobbly stamens and the boingy little tendrils.


And gulf fritillary caterpillars like to eat it, so it draws butterflies.  Best plant ever?  Maybe!

Whee!  More dangles.  I don’t know which is prettier


the pomegranate flowers (with petals that look like crepe paper) or the really cool red fruits.  Luckily, they often have both at the same time, so I don’t have to choose!

And here’s one we had to look up by doing a web search for “maroon wisteria,” and we found it!


The flowers are so lovely, and it’s such a strong, glossy climber–I need to think of a place to plant one at our house!

Aren’t those fun, unusual plants?  I thought so!  You never know what you’re going to find when you go out for a walk!

: )


Tôi mệt mỏi với việc nấu ăn của người phụ nữ. Hãy để chúng tôi thử một nhà hàng mới.

There is only so much of the human female’s cooking I can take.  I think the human male feels the same way, because he suggested we get take-out tonight.  Oh, he says its by way of “supporting local businesses” and “helping the economy,” but I am fairly certain he’s just bored with her culinary efforts.

He went online and pulled up the menu for a Vietnamese place we have not tried yet.  He put in a varied order and went to fetch it.  He should be home at any moment.

And here it is!  What did we get?  What did we get?


There could be anything in there.  It’s not moving, so I guess that’s good.

Hmm.  Styrofoam.  Still could be anything.


Aha!  Actual food.  Shrimp spring rolls with what is looks and smells like peanut sauce.


It’s hot out today, so it’s nice to have something cold.

And this is…


I don’t know what.  There’s a cut-up egg roll, some meat, some pickled vegetables, what looks like rice noodles, and some little fried-ish things on top.  And a plastic container of…  It’s the right color for motor oil, but I rather suspect it isn’t.

Ehehehe.  The human female, well aware of her innate clumsiness, has decided that she needs something larger than the styrofoam container to mix the the food and the sauce in.

She has invoked a mixing bowl!  It makes it looks as if she’s prepared to inhale a whole trough full!


Go ahead and muddle along with your sticks, mortal.  I’ve got a fork and can eat faster than you!

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Mask-making 2.0, Part II: Si vos es facile offenditur, nunc averte oculos tuos

Once, many years ago, the human female sewed a Very Special Dress for her sister.  It was made of several coordinating fabrics, all with a “very cute” Noah’s Ark theme. I’m told it was cute, anyway.  I wasn’t here then, so I can’t vouch for it one way or the other.  Personally, I think it sounds hideous.

Sigyn would probably like something like that, though.

At any rate, the human female has had the leftovers from that twee little project hanging around for decades now.   She rummaged them  up and decided to make herself a mask out of them, using the new pattern.  (But in a smaller size.)

I tried to get her to trace around the wrong pattern again, but she used the right piece of paper.  However, I’m a genius, so I was easily able to think of a different way to turn this little project into a WOMBAT (Waste Of Money, Brains, and Time).

All I had to do was nudge one of the outside pieces over just a smidge before she traced and cut.

Behold the results.


Once you see what the zebras are up to, you cannot unsee it.

Ehehehehehe!  Ooopsie!

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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.

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The Best-laid Schemes o’Mice an’ Jotuns Gang Aft A-gley, Part II: Sic Transit Gloria Quercu

The chainsaws have stopped.  The tree-removal specialist has been paid and has gone.  The oak, that venerable oak, is no more.


I know, sweetie.  It is very sad.  Especially when you realize that the human female probably killed it with with overwatering and by letting smaller trees grow up around it. But think of the life it had! If we swept away this sawdust, we could count the rings and learn who knows what.


And that’s another surprise.  You’d think a dead tree would show more signs of disease in the wood, but nope, this thing is still solid.

Sigyn, maybe you and she can put a bird feeder or something up on this stump.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Fandral’s Mustache!  I hadn’t looked before now at what a state the rest of the yard is in!  In reaching the dead tree and bringing its branches down, the crew smashed up a lot of saplings, peeling off bark and breaking branches.  The beautyberry, which was lush and full, is now just a handful of bare stems:


The coral bean is in a similar shape.  Not good.  Not good at all.

Here is the pile of limbs in the driveway for the City to pick up.  This will box in the human female for a few days.


Do you see me up there?  Remember that the tree itself was dead…  All those green leaves?  Collateral damage.

Some of the larger stuff is piled in the alley for collection.


That is rather a LOT of dead tree.

The trunk pieces are in the neighbor’s driveway.  He wants them for firewood.


The male and female don’t ever use their fireplace.*

Well, I am sad to see the old tree go.  The only fun I can have with it now will be if I can mischiefy the removal of its carcass.  What should the City do–leave the pile uncollected, take the pile but also take the firewoood, or skip the wood removal all together?

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*To use something, you have to be able to get to it.

The Best-laid Schemes o’Mice an’ Jotuns Gang Aft A-gley, Part I: The Passing of a Giant

You may (or may not–who knows how big your brain is? mine’s enormous) recall my mentioning the very large, very dead post oak tree in the the back yard.  The bare branches were ugly enough, but I have always adored the way it made the human female constantly afraid that the thing was going to topple some day and crush the house and all inhabitants.


It was my *plan* to have it do exactly that!  At some unforeseen-by-the-humans point, the venerable arborescent behemoth (look at it!  it’s huuuuuge!) was supposed to just keel over and make a loaf of split-top bread out of the domicile.  Bonus points if I could get it to land on the female’s workdesk, which in a former life was the dining room table.  Extra-special bonus points if some of it damaged the house next door (which belongs to two Russian high-energy nuclear physicists) or the dividing fence—something that would get the human female sued, anyway.

Well, I dragged it out a little too long, fanning the flames of paranoia and whispering in the female’s ear about how Hurricane Season is less than a month away and did you hear we’re due for some very windy weather even before then?  I  must have pushed a mite too hard, because unbeknownst to me, the female rang up a tree removal service and they are here right this very minute, so farewell to a pet project.


Sigh.  You and I could have been infamous, tree.  I’m sorry it’s come to chainsaws.

The human female has a very good view of the process right outside the window behind her “desk.”


I wonder if the fellow with the rope and climbing spikes has noticed the droopy “bird silhouette” the human female put up earlier this year in an attempt to keep that demented mockingbird from hurling himself against the windows?

Yggdrasil’s taproot!  Gigantic branches are coming down!


Can we have just one land on the human female?   Or her car?  Or maybe a limb through the window? Please?

At the very least, can we have some Loud and Alarming Noises as bits and pieces land upon the roof and scrape their way down the shingles?  Yes?


Ah, well.  With every unexplained thump and scrape, the human female is twitching, so I have managed to salvage something from my original designs…

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A Visit to the Mischief Archives

It  has been some time since I shared some of the mischief I have done but not previously written about, mischief that didn’t spawn a photo or a blog post of its own.  I herein admit gloat that all of the following was my doing.

Remember the time she was short some cat skulls so she sent off  some preserved Dead Cat heads to the Purveyor of Head Bones to see if their hungry beetles would eat the flesh off?  Not only did the beetles not eat their têtes de chats morts et conservés, but they all up and died.  True!  The human female killed a dermestid colony.

I put her name in all sorts of fun places on the internet, so she got a very interesting email inviting her to log back in and complete her PayPal purchase of some very lewd shoes named “Private Desire.”

I arranged for an ordered chair to show up with no packing slip whatsoever.   This makes the Bean Counters all purple in the face and it never, ever gets old.

At the beginning of the semester, I nudged a bunch of students, and they all went to the wrong labs, including one who put his head in the right lab room.  The teaching assistant, who already had a full classroom, asked him what section he was in.  I whispered in his ear, and he told the TA the wrong one.  So the TA sent him next door, where there was one seat left and the TA made him welcome.  It wasn’t until the second TA was taking up the signed Lab Safety Agreements that she realized he wasn’t hers.  But, subtracting the wrong student, she was one student short. And just where had that missing student been?  Independently wrongly next door with the first TA, which was why that class had been full!  There’s a reason the human female is going bald.

And the students broke, did break, have broken, will break, will have broken, will have been breaking more and more micropipettors.   Basically, anyway you conjugate it, they break ’em.


Every semester.  And every.  Single.  Time, the Pipette Repair People send her an invoice that doesn’t say invoice. With the wrong address.  Then she has to get them to send a corrected one, one that says invoice, and she turns it in to the Departmental Bean Counters,  About 10 days later, the Pipette Repair People shriek at her that they haven’t been paaaaaaaaid.  Then the human female has to remind them that the University is a Net 30 operation and that they will get their payment in due time.  Then about two weeks later, they shriek at her again, and she reminds them to count to THIRTY.  The human female says it gets really, really old.  For her, maybe.  I still get a good laugh out of it.  Especially since each cheery little email from them ends with, “Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions. Have a wonderful day!”

You know what else got old?  All the calls from TAs about broken respirometers that turned out not to be broken.  How hard it is to screw the lid on a fat tube and to measure liquid accurately?  Pretty hard, apparently!

The week after that, the big fifty liter carboy of Chlamydomonas (a friendly little green alga that is part of the photosynthesis experiments) grew up all “ooky” and contaminated.  The human female was never able to prove that I was the one who meddled with the autoclave so that the growth medium was contaminated, but from the epic side-eye I received, I think she suspected.

That same week, i had the fun of watching the human female and her Prep Staff tear the entire third floor apart, looking for one of the colored light boxes used in the Photosynthesis lab.  The human female knew she’d put it in the cabinet in room 305, but it wasn’t in there.  Until it was, after they all tore the floor apart another two times.  Turns out that lying on your side makes you invisible to biologists.

Then there was the day when she burned her fingers, her watch broke, one of the prep rooms overheated, and there was cat  puke to clean up.  I can’t remember if it was a Monday.  But I bet it felt like one.

I DO remember that it was a Sunday, though, when the low-tire-pressure-you’re-going-to-die warning light in the human female’s car came on.  She drove it very carefully to the nearby shop attached to a discount store, where they told her that they couldn’t find anything wrong with the tire, so she drove it carefully home, planning to take it to the dedicated tire place later.  When she went out to do so, the light was gone.   Teasing her is such fun.

I made it rain on her when she was returning the very heavy liquid nitrogen tank full of bull spunk.

It rained on a Tech I interviewee, too.  How to make a good first impression?  Don’t show up looking like a drowned rat!

How to make a good impression with Admin?  Have a whole batch of hazardous waste come back from waste collection because Environmental Health and Safety didn’t “like” the way it was tagged.

Then WorkDon’t cancelled the Tech timesheets that had some overtime hours on them.  When that was finally straightened out, their checks didn’t come on time.  (See?  It’s not just the human female I like to mess with.)

As always, the devil–and the mischief–are in the details.   And that takes us up through the end of last September!

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Es Martes de Tacos, y Creo Que Falta Algo

Midgardians have some very odd notions of what occasions warrant a celebration.  For reasons I cannot fathom, it seems that eating meat wrapped in a flexible or crunchy corn shell on a particular day of the week is A Thing.

To this end, the human female has e-invited some friends and work colleagues to a Virtual Taco Tuesday.

¡Que comiencen las festividades!

She has chosen an appropriate video background:


…and is now preparing the repast.

taco tuesday 1

Looks like tonight is a “crunchy” night.

I made sure the human male purchased this particular box.  Behold!  Not a one of the delicate vessels is broken!

taco tuesday 2

A light is dawning.  Let’s see if she can count this high.  1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…


Hmmm.  Better have another look at that box, mortal.

taco tuesday 3

Ehehehehe!   Now you know why I handed him this box.

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Marital Bliss is the Spice of Life (But Cumin Doesn’t Hurt)

Astute minions and those who, unlike the human female, can count past five may have noted two very important facts.

1. There are now over 1,900 entries in this journal of my route to conquest.


2. This past Saturday was our sixth anniversary.

On March 28th, six years ago, Sigyn and I were married (possibly) in what must have be one of the strangest ceremonies ever performed.  (If you would like to meander down memory lane, the wedding is here, while the story of our romance begins a little further back on about the 12th of February, 2014.

Although I could certainly have magicked my beloved and myself to some exotic and romantic location, I am married to someone who is very much a rule follower, and Sigyn was adamant we follow the shelter-in-place rules currently afflicting   this portion of Midgard.  It took us a couple of days to decide what we want to do, but eventually we settled upon preparing and enjoying a delicious meal at home.

We begin by caramelizing some onions.


Is there anything that smells better?  I think not!  Sigyn would like to stir, but I am doing it from a distance, safely and with magic.

I am all for jumping straight to the protein, but I know my sweetie is big on vegetables, so we are going to steam some potatoes and carrots.


I have always thought that those expandable steamer baskets are one of the cleverest Midgardian inventions. Very cunning.  Sigyn isn’t as enamored of the articulation as I am —I think its principles could very well be adapted for armor— but she does like to make it fold an unfold “like a flower.”  Over and over.  And over.  It was all I could do to convince her to let it serve its purpose and to carry on with our preparations.

Next, we want to add some cauliflower.

Ah, yes.  That most august brassicaceous capitulum.


Odd to think, is it not, that it belongs not only to the same genus, but to the same species as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi?  My idiot “brother” Thor used to tell everyone that it was also the source of the notion of a Vegetable Lamb but, as we all know, the herbaceous ovid is more likely a mistaken interpretation either of cotton or a very strange fern. 

With the cauliflower broken up and steaming away, it is time to examine the defining ingredient of this dish:


The human female bought this, on the strength of a taste she took of a dish that was being sampled out at the local market (back when such tastings occurred.)  I am sure she was saving it for a dinner for herself and the human male, but cum dormieris occasio deesset, as they say.

I will also make sure that the company that makes this sauce stops making it or goes out of business, because depriving the humans of something they’ve come to like is one of my chiefest pleasures.

The best part about being a mighty sorcerer is not having to to touch raw fowl.  I have magicked the chicken thighs into bite-size chunks, which are now making the acquaintance of the nicely-browned onions.


How are the vegetables doing, Sigyn?


As you can see, I have poked a carrot, and that tells me they are done.

Simmering all the ingredients together in the sauce has yielded up a lovely Indian dish.


Mmm.  Just the right amount of oregano.  (That is, none.)

Let us enjoy this feast, my darling.  Here’s to us and many more years of happiness!