More Birthday Goodies

February is a month of many birthdays–me, the human female’s mother, and the human female herself.  Yes, she’s celebrating a natal anniversary, commemorating growing older and more decrepit.

Clearly, she doesn’t appreciate her gifts, or deserve them, because she is quite slothfully sleeping in.  Therefore, I have appropriated them for myself.

I shall start with this biggish box, sent by her mother.  She always sends good stuff, and it’s hefty, so I have high hopes.


It’s quite securely wrapped.


I’m glad Sigyn’s not here.  A)  She doesn’t need to be tainted by my larceny, and B) Scissors are sharp, her safety is paramount.

Green air pillows…Such fun to pop!


But it’s the contents I’m after.  Hmm. Some big, fat books. Look like chick novels. Boring!  What else?  A card!  Sentimental clap-trap.  But sometimes there are interesting things inside them…


I can use this.   Oh, here comes Sigyn! Sigyn, my love, I’m feeling flush.  How would you like to go out for a fancy, romantic Valentine’s Day dinner?  And would you care to help me finish unpacking the huma–  I mean, my late birthday present, which has just arrived?  (Tsk, tsk, Postal Service!)


There’s a third book in the box.  It is full of Teddy bears and kindly sayings.  Too treacly for my taste, but it’s just Sigyn’s size and she’s thoroughly captivated.  Dearest, it’s all yours!

By my pointy helmet–there is another package here on the table!  It is from the human female’s aunt. This could be anything. 

Ooooo!  Maple fudge!  (Much too good for the human female!)


And what’s this other thing?  The aunt is very crafty. This could be fruitcake or a painting or…


… a spoon.  I don’t get it.  What are you doing?  What’s so fascinating?


Ehehehehehe!  Sigyn, you look FUNNY!


The note says this is a family heirloom, meant to be taken to a jeweler and made into a ring.  What a waste of a good spoon!  Obviously, this is meant for my sweetie and me to eat ice cream with on very special occasions!  Like birthdays!  I’ll go dig the Blue Bell out of the freezer and you go get the bowls!

>|: [







A Late Summer Walk, Part II: Puffy Things and Dangly Bits

This is a good time of year for white, poofy-puffy things.  Sometimes it is seed heads; sometimes it is the flowers themselves.

The human female is laying claim to this one, saying it is her “Kania.”


Well, mortal, what if *I* want it?  Huh?  Do you truly think you could take anything from me if I really wanted it?

Sigyn, ever the peace-maker, is rightly pointing out that there is oodles (her word) of this vine rambling all over the ground here.  Plenty for the human female, for me, and for Sigyn.  Hel, there is even some if Fisi wants to widdle on it.


Sigyn has found her own fluffy white bed.


Say, those flowers look very similar to the Kania ones.  Oh.  The human female says the plants are related, “belonging to the same tribe of the Asteraceae, the Eupatoriae.  Note the slender style branches.”  How very…boring.  But I do think I recognize the plant.  I put some in the humans’ front flower bed last year.  It was quite robust and grew to a great height before producing an abundance of these dirty-white flowers.  This spring the human female discovered it had left about a half a million descendants, all over the flower beds and the lawn.  She is still pulling them up!  Note to self:  Do it again next year.

These white flowers are all very well, but isn’t there something a little more colorful?


Clever Sigyn!  Yes, these are very showy.  Wait for me, and I shall climb up to join you.

Curses!  I seem to be…


… caught on something.

>|: [

A Late Summer Walk, Part I:

The human female gets sort of…twitchy… when she hasn’t been out in the field for a while, and Sigyn is always up for a romp outdoors. Which means, of course, that if they want to go out and ogle flowers, I’m obliged to go along to make sure the human female does not drop my beloved on her head or into a sticker bush while boosting her up to smell some posy or other. Plus, it is a known fact that the human female has no sense of direction whatsoever. Someone has to make sure Sigyn makes it home. (The human female can get lost and stay lost for all I care.)

Fisi has insisted on accompanying us today.


Traveling with a botanist and a Sigyn is usually agonizingly s l o w, because those two have to stop and examine everything. Having a hyena along makes us even SLOWER because apparently hyenas, while possessed of some cat-like qualities, are canid enough to want to stop and sniff and wee about every six seconds. Fisi, if you’re coming, come on.

Late summer is a good time to study grasses. The human female is rattling off a lot of garble that she says is the Latin names of the grasses in flower. But it could also be random handfuls of letters from the Scrabble bag that is her brain.


That’s quite a lovely bouquet, Sigyn. But are you sure all of those are grasses?

When it is as dry and hot as it has been recently, the rule for finding flowers to look at is: Go Where the Water Is. Thus, we are on a sort of mini trip to the little pond/sluggish creek that is right in the neighborhood. (Good–it should be harder to get lost. But not impossible. Remember whom we are dealing with.) When we’ve had rain, it’s rather exciting, because the pond rises enough to overflow and drool across the sidewalk on its way to the storm sewer. There are frogs and turtles and willows and tiny fish. I remain vigilant, however, because this is where the human female once tried to throw me in.

The pond margin is very flowery. Sigyn has lost no time in climbing this Primrose Willow. Look at her–isn’t she adorable? She has such a beautiful, petal-like complexion.


What a nice shade of blue this one is! The human female says it is called Ovate False Fiddleleaf. Um. Sure. I believe that is why most people use its slanty name, Hydrolea. Do be careful, dearest! It has some wicked spines, and there is one just above your hand.


Your plant is very pretty, but I like this one too. (Assumes know-it-all-botanist-voice) Observe: this is a Knotweed. There are pink ones and white ones. They have curiously knobbly nodes that have little fringey turtlenecks. Yes, that is the precise botanical terminology. Would I lie?


Pfft! Who needs a degree in plant nerdity? I could be a botany instructor right now.

>|: [

Mischief update–Messes of all sorts

I know I updated recently, but I’ve just been so busy!

1. We appear to have survived the first week of the semester. I added a few touches, though, like the student whose biology lab schedule said merely, “to be determined.” It’s still not entirely clear where he belongs. The human female thinks he is a transfer student who has to take only the lab portion of the course and not the lecture. It’s hard to tell because he doesn’t actually show on any roster.

2. All the vendor fun has begun in earnest. I had the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, who usually goofs by shipping live materials by 2-day air rather than overnight, finally ship with the correct Fed-up and Exhausted service. On the wrong day. One of their shipments that was mailed properly (after the human female corrected them) arrived sans three jars of Euglena. Personally, I’m of the “what’s a few flagellated microbes more or less?” school, but apparently, in her crazy world, it matters.

3. Sometimes it’s best not to pry too deeply into the why of what she orders. This week, it was–I jest not!–bull semen. Just WHAT is she going to do with that??? She said something about cell structure, blah, blah, blah, but I suspect she’s at work with the Athletic Department to come up with some sort of bovine-human hybrid linebacker. After she placed the order, I had the sales associate call her back to let her know that the liquid nitrogen tank rental was going to be double the price she’d been quoted. Just because.

4. In other cow-related news, she’s had some bovine serum albumin (that’s a thing?) on backorder since forever. It *almost* got shipped, but I tampered with the production facility and that whole batch failed inspection. Ehehehehe. Today she got a notice that a nice, new batch will ship in January 2016 (assuming it passes.) Her freakish experiments can’t wait that long, so she cancelled that order and ordered from the Vendor Who’s Responsible. It’s a lower grade reagent, but since she’s only going to use it to concoct fake urine, it will do. (Seriously! Do you think I make this up?) Just to mess with her head a bit more, I saw to it that the 100g jar was cheaper than the 25g jar. (Who says all my tricks have to be mean?)

5. I bunged up the copier with a sheet of labels inserted properly.

6. I put a typo in an offer letter so that the new lab prep staffer got a 20% raise with just two weeks’ service. And then had it taken back.

7. I convinced the floor custodian that the human female was out to get her, and she quit.

8. Which raises the question–Who will clean the nice, new restrooms? Yes! They are finally finished, and overall they are very nice. If you like taupe. Except they still have no hall doors. Those will be installed over the Thanksgiving break, so that the mortals can all be thankful for privacy. In the meantime, I’ve applied the Loki Touch to all the space-age gizmos. The automatic flushers flush very exuberantly. But on their own schedule. Sometimes it’s, “Um, hello?”, and other times it’s, “Whoa! Meeting has NOT been adjourned!” Yes, friends, using the restrooms is a crapshoot. The motion-sensor sinks deliver a torrent or a trickle as the whim seizes them. My favorite, though, is the automatic towel dispenser. It is like some delicate and shy wild antelope. It must be approached with care and tenderness, from just the right angle. Sudden movements will startle it into immobility. One has to put out one’s hands just so, in a spirit of supplication…holding an offering of alfalfa pellets. I tinkered with the ones in the library as well, since the human female is so often there. Those are of the forced-air variety and proudly proclaim that they can dry hands in 12 seconds vs. the 42 of other brands. They run for 3.

9. Remember the dual half-empty peanut butter jars in the cooling unit? The human female finished one, so the other day I suggested it was time to buy and start another. (This is no simple task because she insists on the ridiculous “old-fashioned” sort that one has to stir and stir and stir to get the floaty oil mixed in with the nutty part. She usually shortens the process by, over a period of several days, turning the jar end for end every time she goes by, letting the oil rise up back and forth. She always ends up with the long-handled spoon, though, goopy to the wrist, having anointed herself and the counters with a spatterment that would have made Jackson Pollock proud.) The brainless wench complied and purchased another, forgetting jar number two. What with the jar of regular smooth peanut butter that the human male keeps for concocting Asian sauces, there are now THREE jars in there!*


Note, if you will, that the newer jar is smooth, when she really wanted chunky. I do so like to help with the marketing. And this morning, when she took it into her head to take peanut butter and an apple for lunch, I changed one of the partials into a second jar of apricot jam, so she was forced to take the full, new jar. At room temp, it’s really sloppy. She’s eating at her desk. That’s bound to go well.

In other news, the authorities found the radioactive package I had cleverly hidden, so it’s back to square one on that little project. I shall have to redouble my chaos initiatives for next week.

>|: [

*plus one in the pantry…

The forecast is for more heat

I know, I know, it was very naughty of me to meddle with the contents of the pantry. But truly, it wasn’t THAT mischiefy. The humans, after all, are rather adventurous eaters. They’re not up to sheep’s eyes in honey or raw seal blubber, mind you, but they have been known to sample the cuisines of other parts of Midgard.

The female, though, always requests that things not be too spicy. A dash of the flavorful but relatively mild Aleppo pepper is about right. She’s very used to unscrewing the jar lid and just shaking it blindly two or three times over whatever she’s cooking.



I think I’ll just hide this….

>|: [

Biryani, anyone?

The humans pride themselves on being organized about the meal planning and the shopping. The female, especially, tries to make sure that healthful vegetables make regular appearances on the table and that leftovers are used in a creative and timely fashion. It’s rare that they are caught out with nothing to cook for dinner. This week, they have some delightful dishes planned.

Which is why they will be completely derailed when they open the pantry to find that all of their staples have turned into strange ethnic foodstuffs that they have no idea how to eat.


That’s not counting the durian ice cream in the freezer and the black radishes in the icebox…

>|: [