poke poke poke

It’s a Riddle for the Ages

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.

Great Frigga’s Hairpins! No wonder! It’s leaking!

It’s making a blood orange puddle on the counter!

I wonder how that happened?

>|: [

The Big City to the South Always Makes Me Hungry

It has been a long day! First the museum, then the pens and the posies, then a whole series of various shops and markets, most of which we’ve been to before. All of this running around has made us all hungry.

We had poke bowls for lunch, something I had tried before. I was predisposed to like it, since poking things is a big part of what I do. This particular poketorium let us choose what we wanted in the bowl. Neither Sigyn nor I are enthused about raw fish, so we shared a bowl with chicken, tofu, leafy greens, avocado, mandarin oranges, a bit of pineapple, and a lot of sesame seeds.

Pretty tasty!

But now we are at the end of our expedition, and there can be no question about where we shall dine before taking the road for home. Time for the Sushi-go-Round!

An order of gyoza is mandatory.

Sigyn likes the dipping sauce so much she is contemplating swimming in it. Dearest, may I suggest you not? It would be a long, sticky ride home in wet velvet.

The human female and Sigyn like the vegetable-filled hand rolls.

Which is funny, because you’d think it’d be me who wanted the green food on the green plate, but no. (I don’t like nori that much.)

I am, however, all about the shrimp avocado rolls.

The human male ordered an avocado hand roll (like the veggie roll but with only avocado) and this showed up by mistake. We ate it anyway.

And, finally, there can be only one way to end such a full and self-indulgent way—with the most self-indulgent dessert there is.

Fish waffles!

The humans never get tired of taiyaki. Neither do Sigyn and I. This time, the human male ordered his fish-shaped waffle full of purple taro goo.

Sir, I believe your fish has sprung a leak.

The human female has opted for horchata-flavored soft-serve and a fish full of sweet, red beany goo.

Sigyn has graciously offered to help her with it. I’m still deciding… The matcha soft-serve is green, but I’m not sure I want tea-flavored ice cream.

Fun fact: When we were here last, I thought that the servers ripped the faces off the fish so they could fill them before upending them in the ice cream, and I offered to eat all the ripped-off fish faces. Turns out that the open-mouthed fish with ice cream are a Korean interpretation of the Japanese taiyaki and are called ah-boong. They are made with their mouths open. There is no bucket of delicious, ripped-off fish faces.

Taiyaki, ah-boong,

You’re so delicious.

I like you more

Than all the other fishes!

>|: 9

Ooh…Eew!–Once Upon a Time…

There was a little shoe. A little, partly-blue shoe.

Once, it had been one of two partly-blue shoes. A duo of partly-blue shoes that belonged to you-know-who.

And what did I do?

I ordered some poo!

Specifically, I went next door and enlisted the help of the neighbor’s stoopid, ill-mannered, pooch. That four-footed menace was only too happy to leave a little “present” in the tallish grass right along the edge of the humans’ driveway. The human female, coming home in her old silver car, stepped right in it and tracked it into the house.

The human male was telling her about how he spent the day cleaning up a stinky feline mess. ( What sort of mess? Let’s just say the Federation is not the only entity troubled by Klingons…) She was making faces and sniffing and saying that– Pew!– she thought he had missed something. After a moment or two of playing “Hunt the Stench”, she caught a clue that it was her own footwear that was so truly offensive. Eew! She put the shoe outside so that the poo could be a bit less “fresh” when she tried to clean it off.

The next day, she attempted to clean it off, using a bamboo skewer like a hoof-pick. Of course, she put it off until she was running late, so she didn’t have time to do a proper job. She was forced to leave it until she could get back to it with soapy water and an old toothbrush.

That was several days ago, and the shoe is still sitting outside the front door.

Everyone who has visited the house has remarked upon the single shoe sitting all alone. “You‘ve been robbed.” “Did you know there’s a shoe on your porch?”

(poke, poke, poke)

Noop. I’m not volunteering to de-goop this shoe.

Meanwhile, she has grabbed her older pair of shoes, the ones that have been reduced and demoted to gardening, and she’s been wearing those. It was when she put them on that she noticed that the gardening pair was actually in better shape than the half-pooed pair! Perhaps it was time for a new pair?

Of course, when she went to order replacement shoes online, they were out of her size, so she’ll have to make do with something different. Will the new ones fit when they come?

What do you think?

Stay tuned…

>|: [

Failing Deliciously

The humans have taken it into their heads to try their hands at baking bread again. And when I say, “taken it into their heads,” I mean, “I planted the subconscious suggestion while they were sleeping.” Their results have been. . .mixed, to say the least. There’s a good chance they’ll have another spectacular failure with which I can embarrass them for years to come.

The human female has seized upon a recipe for a “Harvest Loaf” pictured in a flour-manufacturer’s catalog.

What do you think, Sigyn? It looks like it might be edible, if it comes out right. Let’s take a closer look at the recipe.

The page is messy already! The recipe itself doesn’t look too hard. But look at that eight-hour rising time! This will require planning, which is not the female’s strong suit. This could be a glorious disaster!

Let us commence! Flour, first. Careful measuring is important. (I’ll add or subtract some later.)

There’s whole-wheat flour in this as well.

That practically guarantees it won’t rise like she wants it to!

Sigyn, if you are going to fall in, do it now before things get sticky.

Salt is important, too.

Keeps the yeast beasts in check. Or so I’ve heard. Next loaf I’ll magically remove it and we’ll see what happens.

And the yeast beasts themselves!

Rats! I could have sworn I super-aged it, but it’s still within it’s best-by date. I was hoping she’d have to run to the store mid-recipe.

Water!

Yes, Sigyn, the measuring cup does make you look funny.

Is it supposed to look like swamp gunk?

Or easy-set concrete. One or the other…

The dough is coming together.

Don’t stand there too long, my love. You’ll either get stuck in the concrete or smothered by rising dough…

Time to make big pieces of fruit into itty bitty pieces of fruit. Sigyn thinks snipping dried apricots with the scissors is fun.

Are you sure you don’t want me to do it with my dagger? Because you know how I love using my dagger.

That is a LOT of fruit and pecans!

If this doesn’t work, it’s going to be a sad waste of apricots, cranberries, and pecans.

Everything’s mixed in. Nothing to do now but let it rise.

The loaf bakes in a Dutch oven. I think this is a good idea.

Not because the enameled cast iron conducts and retains heat well, but because it is GREEN.

Don’t forget the pan of hot water for the bottom oven rack!

(much, much later)

Well, here it is. Such as it is.

Vindication! As I predicted, the rise leaves quite a bit to be desired. It’s not a loaf, it’s a rather large, starchy hockey puck.

But it smells good…

The human female has looked at the recipe’s feedback online. Apparently many others have had trouble getting this recipe to rise. See, mortal? You’re not the only one who sucks at bread! Just the worst one.

(poke, poke, poke)

Hmm. It didn’t rise much, but the texture is fairly open for a loaf with whole-wheat flour. It’s not as dense as I thought it’d be. Perhaps it will be edible after all. (If all else fails, we can pick out the fruit and nuts.)

(nibble, nibble…CHOMP!) Great Frigga’s Corset! It may look like a paving stone, but this stuff makes toast fit for a god. But I can’t let the human female know that! Run along, human. Go look up other bread recipes online or take a nap or something. No, no! Don’t worry about cleaning up after your failure. I’ll take care of that.

(Like heck, I will.)

Sigyn and I are going to spend the afternoon with this bread, the toaster, and a crock of butter.

>|: [

A Visit to the Not-so-wild West, Part I–A Belated Yule

The humans were supposed to travel west to visit the female’s mother for Thank-a-Turkey Day. What with one thing and another, that trip was cancelled at the last minute, so the human female and her family decided to try to meet up after Yule instead.

Sigyn and I have tagged along and here we all are now, in El Paso, where temperatures, while a little warmer than average, at least feel a bit more like winter than our part of Texas has been lately. (We left with Queen Anne’s Lace blooming on the roadsides. Which is crazy!)

We got in last night and the human female’s sister (whom I am predisposed to dislike, since she finds me “mean” and “snarky“) and her husband arrived early this morning. We have observed the ritual exchange of gifts. The human female made necklaces for her female relatives. The sister’s daughter (the human female’s niece) sent along a box of toys for the Terror Twins, as well as a present for the human female. Let’s unwrap it and see what it is.

Great Frigga’s Hairpins! What IS this thing?!

Once again the human race astounds me with the depths to which it will sink. The above is a rubbery cat which will forcefully “barf” a felt hairball when squeezed. The human female is now shooting felt balls all over the parlor and cackling like a lunatic. “Dignity” is just a word to you, isn’t it?

(later)

Someone was finally able to wrest the hairball-shooter away from the human female long enough for more prosaic gifts– such as a sweater and a set of apple-shaped ceramic canisters–to be opened and admired. Thank-yous have been said, naps have been taken, and it is now time for a belated Yule feast.

As soon as we can get Sigyn out of the candle holder we can begin.

Hang on, sweetie. Loki’s coming. (How does she even get into these situations?)

The human female’s mother has outdone herself. We are starting with these snailish-looking appetizers.

(poke, poke, poke) I think the resemblance is only coincidental. As near as I can figure, these contain spinach and red pepper and no actual mollusks. Sigyn just likes them because they are red and green.

Mmmm. Roast pork, mashed potatoes, spiced carrots and parsnips, asparagus, applesauce, and rolls.

And, as usual, there is enough for a gathering twice this size. Sigyn, if the human female doesn’t gluttonize too much, we might get to enjoy mashed potato pancakes for breakfast and delicious roast-pork sandwiches!

This is almost worth being trapped in a car with the humans for thirteen hours…

>|: [

Chocolate Makes Everything Better

The church the humans and Sigyn attend is having their annual Yule Party. I was not invited, but where Sigyn goes, I go, especially since the White Elephant gift exchange has been known to get more than a little out of hand.

We are having the party in the activity center of the parish, rather than at a restaurant. While it is quite agreeable to have more room and less noise, it also means fewer choices as to food. I was expecting an entree of pasta or chicken, but the serving line has chips, salsas and queso, tiny empanadas, and some little things made with peppers and chicken wrapped in bacon. Plus a LOT of roasted vegetables.

The humans have been trying to eat more healthfully, so they have taken minimal amounts of the non-vegetable items. Poke, poke, poke. The roasted asparagus is quite nice.

The human female says that she has been very good lately and deserves a little bit of dessert. I could argue about the “good” part of that statement, but I admit that I am curious about what’s on the dessert table.

She has selected a tiny square of lemon bar and a miniature bundt cake.

Great Frigga’s Corset! This bundt cake has chocolate chips!

Oh, dear. It looks as if Sigyn and I will have to eat it for you. Pity.

The gift exchange has new rules this year. As the gifts are opened, they have to be left on the big table where they are all sitting. That’s bad. If we get something good, I won’t be able to hide it and hope the other players forget about it. Each gift can only be stolen once, so we will have to be crafty about how we play this.

(later. much, much later) New rule for next year: No emcee. While the running commentary was funny, it made things take forever. We have ended up with a game which, thankfully, does not involve squishy goats (see yesterday’s diary.)

Hmm. Looks like a game for the sharp-eyed and dextrous. That lets the human female out, but this looks like something *I* could win every time. I approve!

Now, is there any more of that cake left?

>|: 9

A November Neener, Part II: Teeny Things and a Look Ahead to Spring

The human female is noticeably slower as we wander back along the Neener Path. She says she’s “looking for microflora”, but I’m pretty sure she’s just worn out. Her middle initial is “D” which, if it doesn’t stand for “Decrepit” now, will do so in the not too distant future.

Still, at this pace, we are finding things we missed on the outbound trip. I’m not sure how we missed this slender three-seeded mercury.

It has the fall-color thing down pat and is lit up like a torch. Someone remind me why this isn’t grown as a bedding plant just for its color in November?

Some of the plants flowering today can be considered advance scouts for their spring-flowering bretheren.

Mr. Dandelion says that any plant that can sprout in fall and overwinter will have a head start come warmer weather next year. The chickweed in the photo is employing the same strategy.

You know, the general populace often complain about slanty scientific names and how difficult they are to spell and to remember. I ask you, which is easier to recall for this plant:

“Oriental false hawks-beard” or “Youngia japonica?” It’s not native to this part of Midgard, so it has other, even less-pronounceable names when it’s at home. I know *I* have no idea how to say “黄鹌菜”.

What do you have there, Sigyn?

Little seedlings! The human female says the fluffy one is next year’s burrweed. It won’t be much taller than that and will have spiny little fruits. Hmmm. Sounds like it would be fun to plant in the lawn. No walking barefoot for her!

And what are those heart-shaped leaves?

Unless I miss my guess, those will be violets in spring. That’s one of the few plants I do know. I remember them because Sigyn likes them so much.

But what’s this? (poke poke poke)

It’s green, so I’m assuming it’s a plant, but it’s flat to the ground and doesn’t have a proper stem or leaves, just these flat pieces that branch at their tips. Ah. Miss Know-it-All says it’s a liverwort. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with them since they “aren’t flowering plants” but it might be a species of Riccia. Guess she doesn’t know it all!

I think I know why we are moving so slowly. All of this botanizing is tiring. Sigyn, would you like to rest for a bit? These asters would make a starry bed to flop onto.

Um. Perhaps not. They are a bit pokey. But I think I see something over there that would be much more comfortable.

Ahh… Nothing like getting the heavy helmet off and stretching out on a nice, plush patch of bryophytic velvet. Wake me up if we seem to be actually heading for home…

>|: [

Of Zinnias and Mooncakes

I do soooo much mischief that sometimes I can’t keep track of it all and I fall behind in writing about it. No rest for the wicked! And sometimes it’s the little, not-especially-mischiefy things in life I don’t get down on paper. Or electrons. Whatever.

ANYWAY. This is by way of being a catch-up. None of this is recent, but it made Sigyn smile, so it’s important.

The human male came home one day with some enormous zinnias (plus some thistles) that someone at church gave him.

There was a red one AND a yellow one, so Sigyn was extra excited.

That right there is some pretty decent camouflage.

And one day, somewhat after the traditional equinoctial celebration, the human male came home from the oriental market with the biggest, last-chance-for-this-year mooncake Sigyn and I had ever seen.

It was enormous.

Could Sigyn and the human female eat it in one go? They were certainly willing to try.

(poke, poke poke.) The wrapper said it was filled with lotus seed paste. But I didn’t trust it, because I know that often there are other things hidden inside.

The human female, pretending she wasn’t going to eat all of it, cut herself a slice. (She wasn’t fooling anyone.)

See?! I knew there was something else lurking inside! Vindication! People really should learn to listen to me.

But what was the orange stuff? The human female took a bite and said she thought it tasted like egg yolks. Sure enough, she did a little looking online and learned that mooncakes are often filled with salted duck egg yolk. She and Sigyn didn’t care for it much and didn’t eat it, but they ate the cake and the lotus seed paste, all the while reading about Mooncakes and What Goes In Them. Apparently, the really fancy ones have two egg yolks inside.

Then the human female read how many calories are in one of these things, put her fork down, and turned a funny color. She and Sigyn by this point had eaten most of it between the two of them, so they shamefacedly put the rest in the cold box to save for another day. Sigyn, of course, doesn’t need to worry about her figure, but the human female is a different story. She consoled herself by thinking that since they didn’t eat the egg yolk and saved a bit for later, it was probably only million calories instead of a million and a half.

The only person who believes her lies is her, but then, she’s extra-gullible.

Anyway, we had two fall treats, one colorful and one sweet. Which brings to mind the ancient Chinese saying,

更明智的做法是在远处吃花和欣赏蛋糕,这样裤子才能继续合身。

>|: [

FINALLY, Some Different “Walkies”

Finally! The humans have been trying to break free of job, plague, condestruction, and various other entanglements for over a year, in order to go visit the female’s mother who lives in the faaaar western portion of the state. After a very, very long car trip, here we are in another time zone, in a different house, being fed a lot of good food and enjoying some different scenery.

The human female, in order to burn off some of the good food and revel in the different scenery–and the low humidity!–is taking a long walk in order to revisit the neighborhood where she grew up.

It is a very strange place. What is one to make of this inscription on the wall around the school?

Don’t look, Sigyn! There is a dead bovine in the middle of the thoroughfare!

The human female says those are just transitory aberrations and that some things never change. For example, one can still look between the houses and see the desert.

The Franklin Mountains haven’t changed.

They’re still there, at the end of every east-west street.

Ehehehe! Ow! I think I just sprained something laughing. I just asked the human female what their names are–and she doesn’t know. Umpteen years of living there, and she never learned which name goes with which peak. Oh, well. suppose it doesn’t matter. When I take over this planet, I’m naming everything after myself. Except the really pretty bits, which I will name after Sigyn.

Other things have changed. The human female went to elementary school here.

They have torn bits of it down and are rebuilding. Probably to get rid of her cooties.

The junior high school has been completely remodeled:

Likewise the high school, which is totally unrecognizable.

Apparently, as she got older, she left more and more contamination behind, and the only remedy was to tear down and start over.

This is the house where her family lived when she was born. Someone else lives there now.

I guess Baby Human Female didn’t have too many cooties, because it’s still standing and hasn’t changed much at all. It has a lawn, while many of the other houses have desert landscaping.

Except this one, which looks like some fantastic botanic garden run amok. There is not a square inch of unoccupied ground.

Sigyn is in love with it. Perhaps we can stop by again, my love.

(later)

It was interesting to see some different landscape plants for a change. We found some small trees busy dropping curious brown fruits all over the sidewalk.

(poke, poke, poke.) I don’t trust it.

The female says it is a jujube and we should taste it. I’m not going to try it, mortal. You want it tasted, YOU taste it.

“Tastes like a date”? I’ll just bet… If you’re still alive in eight hours or so, then we’ll talk.

>|: [

Breakfast–It’s the Most Important Mischief of the Day

It’s no secret that I adore starting the human female’s morning with a little mischiefy magic. There’s nothing like ruining breakfast to start her day off properly. One time I mangled her morning meal for a whole week running. Today I feel minded to tamper once again.

I believe I will start with cereal roulette. Go ahead, woman. Your boring grainy bits still have a little bit of crunch left in them. I know! You could jazz them up with some raisins. You like raisins. You even have a nice new box. What’s wrong? Something off with the raisins? I mean just because they smell all winey and fermenty is no reason to make a face that’s more unpleasant than your usual one. That’s all right. There are a few not-too-wizened blueberries left. What now? Look, if you’re going to be picky, you’ll just have to eat the cereal plain.

Now, how is the milk? Looks all right, doesn’t it, but how does it smell? Questionable? Maybe that’s just the bottle cap? They get like that sometimes, you know, even when the milk’s still good. What does the expiration date say? August of 2021? Huh. Suppose that’s accurate (in which case, what did they DO to the milk to make it last that long?), or is that a typo? I think you’re just going to have to taste it.

TFTD: Spitting noises are inherently funny

It’s not too hot out yet this year that you couldn’t make some instant oatmeal. Very convenient, just plug in the electric kettle, and three and a half minutes later you’re enjoying a nice, warm bowl of…

Smiling Spackle!

Ehehehe! Looks like cereal, hot or cold, is officially off the menu. How about a couple of slices of nice toast?

Sleipnirs fetlocks! Maybe not that slice. Oh, quit whining! There are probably some ones near the other end of the loaf that are perfectly fine.

Or not.

Tsk, tsk. You’re running a little late now to start making eggs. Say, didn’t the human male buy some strawberries on his last trip to the market? Fresh fruit is always a good way to begin the day. Look at them–bright red and succulent and…

(poke, poke, poke) Frozen solid. Oops! My bad. Apparently, setting the cooling box on “Pleistocene” was not the way to go. I was only trying to make sure the ice cream in the freezer compartment stays solid and unmelty.

Great Frigga’s hairpins! Look at the time! I’m afraid you’ll just have to grab a carton of yogurt and eat it on the run. and see?! Calorie reduction plus exercise! Your pants will fit better in no time if I keep this up.

You can thank me later.

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