Thursday, March 27, 2014

Les pingouins du printemps

Well, here it is, a whole week into Spring 2014, and I just can't get into the swing of things.  It's hard to get enthusiastic about the garden when You're picking Your way over snowbanks and down icy stretches of city sidewalk, walking like a penguin.

That is correct:  Springy G, Loose Cannon of the Æsir, has been doing penguin impersonations.

In public.

At rush hour.

Due to the condition of the sidewalks in Winnipeg, caused by a week of melting and re-freezing, I have to walk with toes pointing outward lest I take a nasty spill and hurt Myself.  Once in a while I even make a gurgling, purring "Hurrr hurrr hurrrrr" sound, like a flightless denizen of a frightfully cold locale.

Mainly because I am a flightless denizen of a frightfully cold locale.  I also like fish, and look good in black and white.   As far as I can tell, the only significant difference between Me and a penguin is that I have a clarinet and a bus pass.

Please don't give the penguins any ideas.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mr. X

Astrejurhof has officially joined the Squirrel Relocation Program. This involves providing security for Sciuridae by setting them up with brand new identities.

Identities so secret, in fact, that even -we- don't know them.

Because it's a bad idea to name a squirrel.  Next thing you know, they'll be taking peanuts out of your hand, saying rude things to the cats, and rearranging the furniture in the att --

     rustle rustle rustle

-- Wait a minute; we don't have any furniture in the attic.  At least, we didn't have any the last time I was up there.

We do, however, have had at least three squirrels, ostensibly refugees from the Dreaded Polar Vortex but more likely just here for the noms.

They've been taken into protective custody (takk fyrir, Chala), and moved to an Undisclosed Location, far away from the attic and the cats and the crunchy-style peanut butter.

And I do hope they stay there for a while, or at least till I can squirrel-proof the attic.

Original photo by Cephas, from Wikimedia Commons; edited by Astreja Odinsdóttir. Distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


So there I was at the kitchen counter, preparing to eat My usual weekday morning breakfast of cereal, milk, and a cup of orange pekoe tea, when --

*CRAAASH* *tinkle tinkle tinkle*


Even before I walked into the living room, I knew what had happened:  My "dragon bowl," a small glass container resembling a fishbowl, had succumbed to a Cat Gravity Experiment.

Sodalite, carnelian, quartz, topaz, amber, jade, pyrite, emerald -- You name it, it was on the floor.

Along with a frightening amount of very sharp glass shards.

Fortunately I hadn't gotten around to pouring milk on My cereal so I abandoned breakfast and went for a whisk broom and dustpan.  A short distance away, a fuzzy-butted cat of unknown breed and even more unfathomable behaviour sat quietly on the coffee table, watching Me solicitously.

All except for his tail, that is.  The tail of Frey Kittehson is the closest thing in the universe to a true perpetual motion machine.  In fact, I have reason to suspect that mad propeller-like appendage acted alone in the assault on the dragon bowl, and that Frey was just an innocent bystander.

Já, right.

I swept the chunks of glass into the dustpan and sorted the stones into another bowl, a stainless steel one this time.  Along with the various crystals and pretty rocks, I found various other small objects.

Metal charm with the Chinese character for 'Snake.'  Reminds Me of when I was studying changquan back in the '80s.

Cut-glass window ornament that's supposed to throw rainbows all over the room.  Never did work as well as it did in that bookstore.

A rock with a snake engraved on it.

And here's one engraved with a spiral -- Which could also be a snake.  I'm definitely detecting a theme here.  An epic feline-versus-snake battle --

*jingle jingle jingle*

-- Apparently over this cat toy.

It's amazing how much mystical stuff and whatnot will fit in a bowl.  Almost as amazing as --


-- Frey's tail.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blogged down

My apologies for a prolonged absence from TSG -- Sometime between Yule and Groundhog Day I contracted a case of Winter Meh and couldn't come up with anything to write about.

At least, nothing that I haven't written about already.

No new NaNoWriMo books to quote.  No photo ops with Queen Elizabeth (*wave wave wave* Hi, Betty!  Say 'hi' to Baby George from Me) or Batman.  It's long past Robbie Burns Day (01/25) and even further past Ukrainian Boxing Day (01/08).  Vernal equinox has already been ordered for mid-March delivery, and Think Like a God Day is over 5 months away.

Garden is under 3 feet of snow again.  Haven't brewed any mead lately, but we're due because we're down to the last couple of pints.  *sip* Darn, that's good.  Maybe I should make a double batch and let one of the batches sit for a year or two to mellow.  Band practices are back on again after the Christmas break and there's an epic earworm battle in My head, with "Sing Sing Sing" squared off against "Finlandia" by Sibelius.  (Except when it's "Rhapsody in Blue" or the theme from Hockey Night in Canada, of course.  It's a wonder I get any sleep at all.)

And, of course, here at Astrejurhof we are still renovating.  The kitchen is our latest victim, uh, project. Most of the walls are back, there are shiny new cupboards and countertops, and someday soon I hope to have My spice collection in one, repeat, one place.  Making a pot of chili is like going on a scavenger hunt, with the cumin seed hiding behind a teapot and the dried hot peppers in the back row of a completely different shelf (and frequently in a completely different cupboard), cozying up to a bag of cat food.

Speaking of cooking, keep an eye on Glori the Kitchen Dragon.  Glori has just uploaded My oatmeal cookie recipe, and there's more to come.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Making light of Yule

You know how the winter solstice is all about "the return of the light"?

Well, we took it literally this year.  Red and I returned the dining room light to its rightful place in the middle of the dining room ceiling, after upgrading the knob-and-tube wiring, patching a few holes, and applying a couple of coats of paint.

Just in time for Me to start baking cookies.

Lots of cookies.

And brownies.

And orange cake.

In the meantime, the chocolate had started arriving in mass quantities.  No less than three people have given Me offerings of chocolates this year, and although I've been doing My divine darndest to share the wealth, we still have mass quantities of chocolate in the house.

If this keeps up I'll have to take a sabbatical from the stuff, the same as back in the 1990s when I asked for "world peace and 5 pounds of Turtles™."  Guess which one I got.  I don't know what the Latin is for "I came, I ate, I crashed and burned," but there came a moment of despair on Boxing Day Night where I swore off chocolate for life.

Which turned out to be approximately 3 days.  Funny, that.

Best of the season to all, and remember to moderate the excesses by sharing the goodies, packing them away for future consumption, or just lying down in a dark, quiet room with a purring cat snuggled up close beside you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Springy G's Gym

I have a confession to make:  I don't like to exercise.  In fact, as the Goddess of Punctuation (and various other things that happen without My divine intervention), I'd much rather meditate on the proper use of the ellipsis than to properly use an elliptical trainer.

It may be too soon to make this claim, but here goes.  Maybe, just maybe, My attitude concerning fitness is about to change.

This began simply enough, in the middle of a perfectly ordinary work day earlier this week.  I have a job that requires Xtreme Sitting, and over the course of the day it's not unusual to get a little bit stiff in the joints.  What I usually do in such situations is to get up for a minute or two and stretch out whatever hurts.

This time, though, I tried something a bit different:  I sat in the chair and flexed and extended My lower leg, as if I was using a leg extension machine.  As I did this slow-motion kicking, I noticed it was much easier to keep good form than when sitting atop a stack of fancy iron plates and trying to move as many as possible.

This is the  "OMGeveryeoneiswatchingputonanothertenpounds" effect, and you may have done this yourself.  (I know I certainly have.)  Somehow, in the thumping, blaring and rubber-scented mayhem of the average co-ed fitness place, the right amount of weight is never enough.

This is how people get hurt, of course -- If not physically, by inflicting grievous and unnecessary harm on a muscle with a fancy Latin name, then psychologically by going home frustrated because the last lift on the last set didn't go exactly as planned.  Or because it did.  The gym ethos seems to combine pain and boredom in equal measure.

I'm starting to think that before engaging in such masochism, one should already be confidently strong.  This would, of course, obviate the need for gyms and weight stacks and creased, slightly dog-eared posters full of curls and presses and such.

I'm also starting to think that body improvement doesn't need to be scheduled, and that in fact it should not be scheduled.  It needs to find a place in the middle of other activities so that it doesn't feel like a duty or an interruption, and it needs to be functional fitness.  By functional fitness, I mean the kind of movements and strengthening that helps improve something specific that's important to one's life.

Example:  I play clarinet.  Going to a yoga class, for instance, would take time and money out of My day, and with the possible exception of the breathing exercises I don't really need it for anything.  Similarly, unless I want to change a tire without a jack, doing knee-numbing squats or a 500-pound calf raise is a bit of a waste.  For music fitness, I think I can get by with some light aerobics.

And tap dance lessons.  Just in case.  (Springy G wanders off in search of a how-to site)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shift Change

Just a bit past 1:30. Red should be here any --

"-- Ah! Can you hold this for a second?"

"Yeah, sure."


*ponder ponder ponder* Think we could get this thing in the trunk?"

"What for?"

"Halloween decoration."

"Uh... I don't think it'll fit."

"How about if we put down the back seat?"


*sigh*  "Okay, let's just go to the gig."

Another October, another bout of Xtreme Pumpkin Lifting, and another show in Roland, Manitoba with the Manitoba Millennium Band.  There was much melodious tootling, and no roadside imitationem Cucurbitis maximis were harmed (or absconded with) in the production of this post.

Photos of Springy G by Red (and vice versa).