Sigyn is very tenderhearted

“Helping” Around the House

These quiet, still-sheltering-in-place days offer a chance to catch up with some household chores that have been long neglected.  Or, rather, I’ve not been neglecting them so much as flat-out refusing to do them.  I have learned that if I drag my heels for long enough, someone else will usually come along and do it.  The human male folded the laundry I was supposed to do.  The human female eventually got sick of asking me to do it and swept the garage herself.  Sigyn pulled the weeds in the driveway. (She apologized to each one as it came up, but she did it.)

Near the top of my “Loki-doesn’t” list is fixing the towel rack in the bathroom.  It’s been down for ages.  Someone–I won’t say who (cough: human male)–used it to catch his balance and pulled it right out of the wall, and the holes in the drywall left by the expanding bolts as they ripped free have been uglifying the room ever since.


Poke, poke, poke…


Norns’ nighties! That really is huge.



See!  I knew it.  The humans got off their prodigious posteriors and sourced the necessary supplies (new expanding bolts).  The female actually had the job finished all on her own in a very few minutes.

Let us examine her efforts:


Not bad.  But what’s with the silver screw where there ought to be a bronze one?  That looks terrible.  Did you not keep the bronze one, human?


Or did someone—-ehehehehehe—bend it just a teensy, unusable smidge?

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¿Quienes son todas esas personas? (Sigyn habla, practicando su español)

Loki y yo todavía estamos confundidos porque comimos todos los dulces.  ¡Creo que él se comió su peso en Skittles, y sabes que nunca puedo decir “no” al chocolate!

Hoy estamos en el mercado, buscando alimentos saludables para comer.  Vamos, Loki, compremos algunas verduras y frutas.  Y no, las manzanas confitadas no cuentan.

¡Escucha! ¡Oigo musica! ¡Vamos a ver de dónde viene!

Aquí hay un grupo de hombres con grandes sombreros y instrumentos musicales.

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Siempre he querido aprender a tocar el acordeón. ¡Quizás este caballero me enseñe!  Loki no confía en ellos…

No sé cuál es la ocasión. Oh! ¡Quizás sea una boda!  Aquí están las damas de honor, y esa debe ser la novia y el novio.  ¿No es bonito su vestido?

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Sí, me gustaría estar en la foto.  ¡Gracias!

Oh Loki! Mira los perritos huesudos.  ¿Podemos llevarlos a casa y alimentarlos?

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Supongo que los invitados a la boda han devorado toda la comida, porque el gatito pobre también parece hambriento.

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¡En lugar de frutas y verduras, creo que hoy compraremos comida para mascotas!

: )

Science is Wiggly, But Fragile

There’s something new in the Critter Room!

For the 112 labs, this summer is the first time the new activities are being tried. Some have worked well and are relatively Loki-proof. Others have enough moving parts that I can get a little traction. For the Osmoregulation lab, the precious little kiddos are no longer going to dissect a kidney and learn how to do a urinalysis. They will be experimenting with real, live clam worms, members of the Annelida. This is a clam worm:

Image result for nereis

Sigyn thinks their myriad paddle-like parapodia are “cute.” I’m reserving judgment until I see one in real life.

We’ve heard that a small batch of test subjects has arrived and has settled into their new aquarium home.   Let’s go look!

Supposedly they’re in the thank with the sand.  Do you see anything?


I don’t either.  I understand they’re good at burrowing, so maybe they’re down in the sand?

(later)  Ah ha!  The human female and her minions are about to test the experiment. Now we can get a good look!


They don’t have any legs, but those little swimmy-things undulate, so they’re able to move pretty well.

(later)  The human female is shocked and grumbling.  The worms are supposed to be able to change the salt concentration inside their bodies to match that of the water outside their bodies.  The experiment called for the worms to be moved from their average-sea water tank into beakers with water that is more or less salty and then weighed at short intervals to see whether they are gaining weight by taking up water to become less salty or losing weight through losing water and becoming more salty.  And when that was done, they were put back into standard sea water and weighed some more to see if the adjustment can be reversed.

Um, the experimenters ran into a little snag or three.  Why?  Hello?  God of Mischief standing right here!

First, one of the treatments called for the worms to be put in plain water.  Note for future reference:  Clam worms do NOT like that.  Much wriggling and stress ensued.  They won’t be trying that again.

For the most part, the worms behaved as expected.  However, to make sure that it is only “worm” being weighed and not clinging water, each time a worm moves from a treatment beaker to the scale, it must be patted dry.  The humans went through a LOT of paper towels, and the worms were looking quite a bit the worse for wear by the end of it.  One of them didn’t survive.  (Sigyn was very sad.)

Afterwards, when the worms were returned to their big tank, I meddled some more.  I took some of the fine sand that the Prep Staff minions had stirred up while getting the worms out of the sand in the first place and worked it into the filter pump.  I was only trying to make the pump make funny noises, I swear!  I didn’t mean for the pump to fail entirely and make most of the worms die.  Don’t tell Sigyn.  She’s very soft-hearted and would be mad at me for days

(Much later)  Well, the humans went ahead with the experiment on a large scale with all the classes, as planned.  They ordered one hundred clam worms and were all set to house that many.  They even found some super-absorbent paper to dry the worms with, so they wouldn’t get handled so much.

That’s when I thought it would be funny to have things to even wronger.  Clam worms are voracious carnivores but will eat fish flakes in a pinch.  Apparently they themselves taste pretty good.  Two days before the lab, the Vendor (whom we shall call the Purveyor of Things That Can Breathe In Seawater) called and admitted sheepishly that somehow a fish had been introduced into the holding tank that was housing her worms prior to shipment–and it had EATEN two thirds of them or more. Eheheheheh! Oopsie!

Only about thirty worms arrived, so the experiment was set up to use far fewer worms.  By the day of the experiment there were even fewer left.  Who knew that traveling makes them hangry and liable to indulge their little penchant for eating one another?

And then there were eighteen.  Six each for three rooms.  The worms got put through their paces morning and afternoon, and I have to say, the results were not pretty.  The worms refused to do their osmoconforming magic in the morning sections, and by the afternoon sections they were quite battered. There is no way they’d last a whole week in a fall semester.  The filter pump quit again and, all in all, it the whole caboodle was judged a failure.

I haven’t told Sigyn. As far as she knows, the worms have just gone to the great big fish tank rest home, or whatever serves as the out-to-pasture equivalent for weary Annelids.  I’m sorry that worms suffered—but more than a little gleeful that the humans feel guilty about it.  They’re going to work with the POTTCBIS to see if a sturdier—and presumably less-appetizing!—creature that doesn’t have to be fished out of the sand with a litterbox scoop is available for next time.  They’re thinking snails.

In which case, I’m thinking garlic butter…

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The Day After Easter–Shhhh! (Sigyn Speaks)

I’ve been walking for a long time.  Surely the Easter Bunny is around here somewhere.

Ohhhh!  I think…  I think that’s him there, asleep under the oxalis…


He looks so tired.  I’ll let him sleep and leave a snack for when he wakes up.


And I have an idea…

A cold front came in and it’s a little cool today.  I think I have just what we need back home.  Sleep tight, Easter Bunny.  I’ll be back quick as I can.


Nighty night.

: )

The Day After Easter (Sigyn Speaks)

Happy Day-after-Easter!  Isn’t it a beautiful day?


The primrose-y corner of the lawn is looking especially beautiful today.  I think I’ll go for a walk!


What’s this?


A left-behind Easter egg!

And look!  Here’s another one!


I didn’t know this walk was going to be an egg hunt!   I wonder who left them?


I don’t see anyone over this way?


Nobody that way, either.  No one seems to want them.   Hmm.  But I like hard-boiled eggs.  I’ll go home and fetch a basket and come back to collect them.


Hum te tum, humty tumty tum!


I’ve got the white one, and here’s the bluey-gray one.  I do wonder who left them?


Maybe it was the Easter Bunny!  Maybe he knew I’d be out for a walk today and left them just for me to find!

I wonder what the Easter Bunny does the day after Easter?  I mean, Santa Claus has Mrs. Claus to look after him and make sure he eats something healthy after all of the cookies, but who looks after the Easter Bunny?   Hey!  That gives me a great idea!  Be right back!


I’m going to go see if I can find him, and bring him a snack ’cause he’s probably tired and hungry from all of the egg-decorating and hopping.


There’s a bunny!  “Excuse me, are you the Easter Bunny?”


“Well, hello there!  No, I’m not the Easter Bunny.”

“Oh.  Okay.  Here’s a carrot for you anyway.  Bye!”


There’s another bunny!  “Pardon me, are you the Easter Bunny?”


“No, my dear.  I’m not.”

“Oh.  That’s all right.  Do you know where I can find him?”

“I’m not sure.  Maybe along over thataway?”

“Thank you!  Here’s a carrot for you.  Have a nice day!”


Maybe this is the Easter Bunny!  “Hello!  Are you the Easter Bunny?”


“No, little one, I’m not.  But I think I saw him earlier.  If you keep going along the path, you may find him.”

“Oh, thank you!   Here–have a carrot!  Bye!”


…to be continued.

: )


Zooward, Ho!, Part I: Getting There and Petting There

It doesn’t look as if it is going to rain too much today, so Sigyn and I are finally celebrating my birthday by going to the zoo.


Sigyn likes to watch animals and I like to watch Sigyn watch animals, so everyone has fun.

Except maybe the animals, if they don’t like to be watched.

Since there is a sliver of a modicum of a smidgen of sun, Sigyn is hoping for some good photos.  She has brought along her little camera, just in case.


Where do you want to start, dearest?

Silly me!  Was there really any question? Sigyn wants to begin with the petting zoo.  That is bound to be dull.

Though I will admit that this pint-sized bovine does have a rather winsome expression.


And this porker seems very friendly.  He probably thinks you have food.


Certainly I will take your photo with the piggy!  Smile and say, “Oink!”


Sigyn thinks the little pony looks sad.


Augh!  Sigyn, no!  Don’t hug it!  You don’t know where it’s been!


Sigh.  If you’re done petting, let’s go get you disinfected and check out some of the other exhibits.

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Spoiled Kitties, Part II: Some New Friends

Since the Terror Twins have misplaced  (or flat-out annihilated) so many of their toys, the humans have actually gone and bought them more, in the (vain) hope that they will play with the toys and stop knocking over trash cans and jumping on the tables.

I suspect that some of them may make a detour on the way to the felines…


Yes, Sigyn, this is a very exceptional and obliging lobster.  Certainly, if it is willing, you may go for a ride.  Just mind the claws.

I haven’t got the heart to tell her that this cute and friendly crustacean will probably be blind and antenna-less inside a week.

The human female’s mother went to a lot of trouble to pick out and mail some colorful rodents she thought Taffy and Flannel might like.   Can’t speak for the cats, but my sweetie is certainly excited!


They are firmly attached to the card, but one simple spell and all the vermin are freed!


Blue-ears (who has a rather alarming tendency to list to port)  has already been dragged under the table by Flannel Cat.


So long, Blue-ears.  It was nice knowing you.

If Flannel has Blue-ears and Taffy is chasing Pink-ears up and down the hallway, what will become of Orange–?



Sigh.  I think I have acquired a new pet.

>|: [

Spoiled Kitties, Part I: So Many Toys

The human female would insist that she and the male don’t spoil the Terror Twins.  Oh, is that so?   Then how do you explain the fact that this house is just littered with toys?  I am growing weary of stepping on them in the middle of the night when I get up to do a little mischief.  (Though it is fun to hear the humans trip and curse!)  The floor of the whole house is one big feline playground.  As well as the no-man’s-land under the sofa.

Look, Sigyn!  Have you ever seen so many feline amusements all in one place?

It’s not always pretty.   Here we have a pom-pom which has obviously known better days.

defunct pom

It appears to be hemorrhaging yarn.

Most of the toys have names.  This one is Chicken Nugget.


It has a sibling, in a dark leopard print, that the human female calls Rotten Nugget.  Charming.

This is Nipfish.  Like most of the toys, the felines are only interested in it if it is being thrown.  Just lying here, it is a very boring fish.


With her usual lack of imagination, the human female has dubbed these Blue Mousie and Green Mousie.   Green Mousie has an owie.

blue-green mousies

Eww!  Sigyn, do not try to comfort the mousies!  Their fur is all stiff and nasty with cat spit.

This is Sparkle Mouse.


He disappears for days at a time but always resurfaces, a little the worse for wear.  He leaves little sparkly threads all over the house.  But he still has his nose, so there’s that.

This is one of the Tan Mice.  There are two of them.


Flannel and Taffy have the bad habit of chewing bits off their toys.  This one has two little dots left for a face.  I’m not sure if it’s one eye and a nose or two weirdly-situated eyes.  It doesn’t much matter.  They’ll both be gone in a week.

The humans bought a package of three furry mice, since the felines seem to like those best.  There was a black one, a gray one, and a white one.   The gray one is called Hairball Mouse, because that’s what it looks like.  It is missing an ear, which makes Sigyn very sad.   No, my love, don’t pet it—more cat spit.


The black one was evidently the most fun to play with, because the kitties used to leave it in the middle of the living room or down the hallway every night.  In the dim light of morning, it was easily mistaken for something that should have been left in the litter box.  Sadly,  Turdmouse disappeared a few weeks back and has not been seen since.   The human thinks she found his nose, though.  It’s hard to be sure. One bit of chewed-up felt looks much like another.

I have taught the felines well.  They can be counted on to snub the expensive, catnip-filled creations in favor  other things—bugs, string, hands, paper wads, toes, leaves, acorns, a bottle of antacid tablets, and the laces to the human female’s ankle brace.  (Om nom nom nom)  The female tried them with the ring from a milk carton, since those seem to be popular with pussycats.  Taffy was quite interested in it.  Well, in eating it.

Remember:  Anything not nailed down is a cat toy, and anything nailed down can be pried up.

And stepped on, barefoot, in middle of the night.

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Things That Go Bloop, Part III: Taking Care of Close to Home

Sigyn was very inspired by our trip to the aquarium.  She is now infatuated with all things piscine.

The human human female has a pond tank.  It is full of water plants and green algae for study.  When she collected the plants from a local creek (sadly, the one no longer extant) she inadvertently collected a tiny little fish as well.

Sigyn wants to see it and has enlisted the human female’s help to get a good view.  Here it is:


No, Sigyn, I don’t see the widdle fishie either.  He is a good hider!

The good folks from IACUC  (Institutional Animal Coddling and Understanding Committee), on a previous visit, spotted the fish in the pond tank and mandated that it be checked on every day and a meticulous record kept of its care.  Now there is a checklist and everything.  Since no one has to feed this fish (presumably it eats algae and tiny water beasties), the daily log notes tend to consist of things such as “come out, come out, wherever you are” and “fish are friends, not food.”  Humans are weird.

IACUC came through the human female’s work place again the other day, making sure that all the critters were being cared for properly.  Actually, they really only care about the vertebrates, so I am taking that as tacit permission to experiment with the krakens and anemones…)  One of the inspectors said that since this is a schooling species of fish and it is being housed by itself, if they wanted to take the regulations to the extreme, they could demand that the fish be provided with enrichment activities so that it does not become sad and bored.

Sigyn has taken this very much to heart and has brought a few things she thinks the fishlet might enjoy.


If it does not feel like playing conductor, perhaps it would like to play with some stretchy caterpillar blocks.


Or, if it wants a friend, a hug from a teddy is always good.


I just hope the stuffing is waterproof.

Oh, sweetie, no.


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Soft Things…

Sigyn is extremely tenderhearted and sentimental–and an absolute pushover when it comes to “cute” or “fuzzy.”

Earlier, I was trying to explain to her, while hiding the human female’s tweezers in the bag of cotton balls, that the “Triple Size” on the label indicates the large size of these particular puffs, not that there are three different sizes in the bag.  I am having to explain it again today.  You see, Sigyn–

Huh.  Bless your sunny little heart.  You’re right, dearest.  There are three sizes.  It is probably a manufacturing defect, but sure enough, there are a few whoppers and one or two slighty-bitties in among the standard larges.

She wants to hug them all.

And did I ever mention that Sigyn also has a thing for markers?


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