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If you had to work in one type of factory for the rest of your life, but could choose what kind, what would you pick?

It’s so good to be home! Last night we had the entire family together again for a delicious fettuccine alfredo dinner. One thing led to another and somehow we children ended up building a little house out of meat products. It was AWESOME. It was kind of like an inspirational Disney movie because we came together and pooled our talents to overcome our obstacles. Gordon put his construction knowledge to good use to make the house structurally sound, Frances’ artsy Chicago education came in handy for spreading the potted meat around as “snow,” and I used my phonetic transcription skills to fashion a snowman out of hotdogs. And Anne mostly took pictures and avoided touching the meat, which shows some kind of wisdom. Here’s a picture for you, which doesn’t really show the structure’s true majesty, but it gives you an idea.

And no, my head is not actually half the size of Frances' head.

Then I found this. GEEZ, there’s a kit? Ugh. Well, if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, it’s something to consider.

Only one final left! I finished my Dutch phonology report and phonology take-home final (which means that class is out of my life forever), and got my Intercultural Communication final out of the way yesterday. Now all that remains is my Language and Culture final, which is tomorrow morning at 8. After that’s over, I can go back to reading something other than Western Apache Language and Culture. Words cannot express my excitement.

Other things I am looking forward to:

Tonight my friends are having a hymn sing at their apartment. YESS!!

Tomorrow afternoon I am taking a few of the internationals to an animal shelter here in Norman where we can play with the dogs and take them on walks.

On Friday morning or afternoon I get to rejoin my family in Kansas! Woohoo! I like them.

Frances comes back on Saturday! It seems like it’s been weeks since I’ve seen her, and I can no longer remember the sound of her voice.

And then next week: WISCONSIN!!! And Christmas!

Rachel and I dearly love this commercial:

What are you knitting? Socks!
What’s your least favorite thing to eat? Socks!
What’s that smell? Socks!
Why did you scream? Socks!
What do you want to be when you grow up? Socks!
What is that beautiful table-runner made out of? Socks!
I don’t know what happened here, but I think when this post started I was planning on providing helpful information on how I revive myself in the middle of the day when my energy level is dropping. Socks! I change them. Try it, you go through socks twice as fast but it’s so effective.

What are you knitting? Socks!

What’s your least favorite thing to eat? Socks!

What’s that smell? Socks!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Socks!

What does bluegrass remind you of? Socks! (In the nicest possible way.)

What is that beautiful table-runner made out of? Socks!

I don’t know what happened here, but I think when this post started I was planning on providing helpful information on how I revive myself in the middle of the day when my energy level is dropping. Socks! I change them. Try it, you go through socks twice as fast but it’s so effective.

On Saturday, Rachel and I threw a cookie-decorating extravaganzaaaa! It was magnificent. Rachel spent three hours making her delicious beef stew, I made my famous cookies-from-a-mix, and we had chocolate fondue and a cheese ball and garlic bread. Woohoo! Our friends came from near and far to eat stew and decorate cookies. A lot of the internationals hadn’t ever created such festive cookies before, and they were remarkably good for amateurs. After we ran out of cookies, we decorated Martin’s fingernails. THEN we watched the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is one of Rachel’s holiday favorites.

The preparations! This is probably unrelated, but lately, all the food I eat directly off this table tastes like flour and butter. Weird.

This is Superman with a Tri-Force, which I guess makes him invincible? I'm not sure how that works.

Anna, our favorite Russian, would decorate cookies and then moments later, claim she "lost" them. We turned the apartment upside-down, but none were ever found.

And when we ran out of fingernails to decorate, we went outside and decorated KRAETTLI! Just kidding.

The downfall of Tiny Tim! He is pretty irked, which you can tell by his face. Before the shark attacked him, that anger came from the fact that Anna "lost" his right leg.

I know of four or five internationals who are staying for next semester, but most are going home after this week. I’M GONNA MISS THEM SO MUCH. I always forget how hard the end of each semester is. Too many good-byes to say! I’m already sad, dadgumit.

If you found out your kitchen utensils were sentient, would you continue to use them?

Obviously Cogsworth would.

Last day of classes! I’m not as sad about that as you might think. As a matter of fact, I am a little bit thrilled.

This week, the week before finals, is known as “Dead Week,” which is a term that no one really understands. The professors aren’t supposed to introduce new material or have large projects due, but they are all lawbreakers. Rachel and I have been trying to explain Dead Week to curious internationals, since some of them think it’s some kind of celebration of death. For me, most of the big stuff is over, and all that’s left before the actual finals is a take-home final and a report on Dutch phonology rules. Oh, and I guess I have to read a book on Apache culture. The end is near!

Rachel and I think we may have a ghost lurking in our apartment. He stole Rachel’s ipod for a few days (she found it last night inside a book), cut a wire on my speakers, and is probably responsible for the suspicious thumping sounds at night that at first I thought belonged to a large trout awkwardly flailing inside the walls. As a sign of peace, we left him a note and a cinnamon roll (neither of which he ate). Our theory is that he’s probably the ghost of a samurai who was studying abroad. Further bulletins as events warrant.

Here’s some sickening cuteness to brighten your day. If you can watch it without smiling, you are probably a grinch.

I found a folder on my computer where I saved some dreams that I typed up back when I could still remember them. Here’s one from March.

I come back from visiting Frances and realize I left my phone charger in her apartment. This makes me pretty sad, but I soon find that the consequences are more dire than I originally imagined. My family is watching the news when I walk by, and it is showing a space shuttle crashing into a city. I gasp and am deeply upset, and my family tells me that that wasn’t actual footage, it’s just what will happen if I don’t charge my phone. I also find this distressing. If it’s so important for me to charge my phone, why can’t the government get me a new charger? Why do I have to wait for Frances to make the 13 hour trip down from Chicago? While we are all hanging out in the rec room, President Obama comes in from the laundry room. Apparently there is a secret tunnel that comes straight from the White House to our basement, and he likes to hang out with us. This does not surprise anyone in my family, including me. I guess it has happened before, and I have a vague memory that last time he brought the first lady. He watches tv with us for a while and is pretty chatty. Later he comes upstairs to continue talking with Mom and me. Mom asks him, if he saw our family in public, would he pretend not to know us? The way he skillfully avoids answering the question implies that he would indeed treat us like crap and he knows it. This is awkward. I ask him if it takes him a long time to get through the tunnel to our house from Washington, since it would probably take at least a day to drive. He answers that it’s about a five hour walk, and I marvel at that fact. Somewhere in the course of our conversation, he brings up Airforce One and mentions that Anthony Plopper and Tim Graf are the skipper and first mate.
The other day (the first day the weather went below freezing here) our heater broke, so Rachel and I pretended to be pioneers. To make it more realistic, our internet also broke, and my Skullcandy earbuds also pooped out, so I had to use the earbuds that came with my ipod (much like the early pioneers, obviously). Our internet is functional again and the maintenance people came the next day and fixed the heater, but alas! They could do nothing for my earbuds.
I got a swine flu vaccine on Friday. I’m invincible!
Last night I went to a senior piano recital for a friend who is graduating this semester. It was amazing! There was a bit of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff and Debussy and Chopin, etc. In the last song, which was by Rzewski if you’re interested (and also if you’re not), involved him using his fists, forearm, and elbow to whack the piano keyes in a very melodic manner. Here’s his myspace page if you’re up for some piano music.
I got my 10 page Second Language Acquisition paper finished and sent in. This is a happy accomplishment. Now I just have to write a report of Dutch phonology, present it in class, finish two take-home finals, and then I just have two more regular finals. The end is in sight!
P.S. This is funny.
Beware: I am about to tell you about a paper I’m working on that is due tomorrow in my Language and Culture class. I think it’s interesting, but you might not. You’ve been warned.
Basically it is about using historical linguistics to find out information about prehistoric people. If we compare a lot of related languages (like Latin, Sanskrit, Russian, etc.), we can reconstruct a proto-language (like Proto-Indo-European, which I will refer to as PIE, since pie is so delicious). Then we can use the words from the proto-language to find things out about the prehistoric people who spoke it. It’s like CSI! Here are some of the things we can learn:
  • Original location – Nobody knows exactly where the Indo-Europeans lived, but since there is a long list of words like snow, mountains, oak, beech, bear, wolf, bee, etc., we can narrow it down to only places where all of these things exist. The current guess is somewhere between central Europe and the steppes of southern Russia.
  • Culture – Using the same strategy, we know that speakers of PIE were no longer nomadic and had some agricultural knowledge. They had domesticated dogs but not cats. They had a patriarchal society and recognized the existence of a soul, believed in gods, and had developed certain ethical ideas. Also they had figured out how to make an intoxicating beverage out of honey.
  • Movements – We can tell which way a people group migrated, but that’s not interesting.
Obviously this is all a lot of educated guesses, and it’s impossible for us to know anything for absolutely positively certain. But STILL, I think it is pretty neat that we can get all of that information from a prehistoric language that had long disappeared by the time people started writing history down.
If you’re mildly interested, here’s a family tree for the descendants of the PIE family.
In other news: I found out at 10:15 Monday night that I had a 10-page paper due at 10 that very night. How alarming! It’s under control now, no need to worry, but I was panicking.
Another thing: The title of this post is hilarious! Bonus points if you leave a comment discussing why it is hilarious.

A favorite delicacy of the speakers of Proto-Indo-European. As a speaker of a descendant language, I am proud to carry on this tradition.