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I think I destroyed a squirrel this morning! There was one merrily scampering around my apartment and when I stopped to greet it, I startled into a two-story drop. It rolled around on its back for a minute, flipped over, immediately ran into a brick wall, staggered over to the wooden fence, ran into that, and then squeezed through the slats. It didn’t seem injured other than possible brain damage, but it may have just been really disoriented. I saw it a few hours later and it seemed fine (unless that was a totally different squirrel). Either way, this weighs heavy on my conscience. I hope he feels better soon and can get back to playing acorn croquet with all his little creature friends.

I made a raspberry cobbler with this recipe, and it is magnificent. I made it just because I had raspberries and felt like cooking something, and now I have to hurry up and make other people eat it before I do. A LOT of butter had to die to make such bliss possible.

On Monday, the furniture fairies are bringing us new furniture! I cannot wait. We currently have old, scratchy, uncomfortable furniture and tiny beds that are too soft. Every year, they raise our rent so they can buy other people new furniture, and ever year, we throw a little fit. But apparently our tantrums have paid off! Extreme apartment makeover in two (2!) days. This does mean that we have to clear off and clean out everything–dressers, desks, bookshelf, etc. Somehow this is a much bigger job than I anticipated and has occupied most of my Saturday so far, but I sense it will be worth it.

Even though this year we haven’t been having our weekly gatherings with the international students, I’ve still been getting to spend a lot of time with several of them. Lately I’ve been hanging out with Ying-Hsuan a lot–she is from Taiwan and knows Lin (remember him? Oh, the adventures we had). Her roommate, Marie, went home to Austria for a few weeks, so Ying-Hsuan has been spending time with Rachel and me. She goes to church with me every now and then and joined us after church last week for a duck pond picnic. Bagpipes ensued. (See photographic evidence below.) The geese were not amused / alarmed by our piping shenanigans, which I must admit surprised me a little. We’ve also had mini-potlucks and gone out for schnitzel (which she liked), and a few days ago she brought over her drumsticks and sang me “Happy Birthday” in Chinese while drumming along (she’s taking an Intro to Drumset class). It was adorable. It’s been fun to get to spend so much one-on-one time with her and get to know her, even though she does make fun of me for still liking coloring books.

A girl at work told me her aunt has a pet bobcat that she toilet-trained. Several things about that statement intrigue me. Must investigate.

School is keeping me busy. Actually, I should rephrase that: school will make me be busy this weekend and all of next week. I have projects and exams eevveerryy day next week, and I intend to get started on all this homework and studying in the very near future. Like… now.

 

Damon, Maggie, and Ying-Hsuan revel in the glory of Music.

 

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It’s been a while.

Fall semester started TODAY, which is terribly exciting! Actually the really thrilling news is that Anne is here!! She is one of the new little Sooners, and we moved her into the dorms on Tuesday. I think she likes it here. Sometimes she tries to convince me she has no friends, but as far as I can tell, she has more of a social life than I do–she keeps hanging out with people and declining my invitations. And living in a building with over a thousand other freshmen puts you on the fast track for friend-making, so I would say she’s doing quite well.

My classes for this semester include Communication Theory, Risk and Crisis Communication, Symbolic Logic, and Freedom in Greece. So far I’ve only been to the first two of those, and they seem like they will be moderately interesting. Risk and Crisis Comm should come in handy, I suppose, since risks and crises are lurking around every corner. I shall be prepared! At one point though, the teacher expressed concern about cramming too many kids in the room and violating a fire code. So I guess we’re trying to avoid risk? I think I must not understand what this class is about.

The ISS office has been INSANELY busy these past few weeks with all the incoming internationals. It is simply flabbergasting. I am hoping with every fiber of my being that things calm down. This semester I will be working about twenty hours a week, splitting my time between the law library and the ISS office.

I’ve met a few new exchange students. They have different visas than the internationals, so they check in at a different office, which means I don’t meet them unless we cross paths in Kraettli. So far I have met friends of Lily and Milena (two French students from last year) and a friend of Yu-Chieh (a Taiwanese student from last year). Yu-Chieh sent a present for Rachel and me that consisted of an assortment of keychains and brochures from a Taiwanese museum, and posters he made from pictures around Taiwan. I don’t think I can fully capture the glory of these posters in words, so I hesitate to try. But let me tell you, they are hilarious. The captions on the back are informative, off-the-wall, and sweet (my favorite was “your smiles are sweeter than the sheeps”).

My friend Laura (a French exchange student from two years ago) was in town today with her family! She is writing her masters thesis on Route 66, which obviously necessitates an epic family journey for research purposes. It was reeeeaally good to see her. We went to Wendy’s and I had trouble explaining how a Frosty is different from a milkshake. …Is it?

In other news, I tried to make meatballs the other day. They turned out soupy, which was not unforeseen for a few reasons. I used a meatloaf recipe, didn’t measure anything, and substituted in some very incorrect ingredients. They taste edible though.

The OU marching band practices in my front yard! How obnoxious. They are good at what they do, but they are ever so LOUD and the theme this year seems to be Lady Gaga. (Rachel almost fell out of her chair with delight when she found out about this.)

Time to eat some watermelon.

Happy happy Mother’s Day!

Last week of the school year! It should be survivable. By a happy twist of fate, I only have two finals this week, and only one that is seriously alarming. That would be Morphology. My capstone essay is due Thursday, and after that I am freeee!

We finally had our Korean cookout last Thursday. There was some kind of delicious beef/onion/mushroom concoction, Korean roasted chestnuts, dumplings, kimchi (here’s a recipe), and LOTS of rice. It was a little terrifying to watch my Korean friends cook – they were flinging raw meat around my kitchen and using magazine pages to cover the dumplings frying on the stove. Kraettli could have burned down! Happily, we all survived, and the meal was completely delicious.

On Saturday, my Chinese friend Ivory invited me over for dinner with her and her daughter Alice (they both became Christians over the break, I think I’ve mentioned them before). Let me tell you about the food she cooked. There was 1) fried chicken with some kind of strange and wonderful seasoning, 2) pink potatoes and pork, 3) red peppers and shrimp, 4) pork with “tree ear” (it’s a type of fungi, and the Wikipedia page freaks me out and I can’t believe I ate so much of it), 5) LOTS of rice, and 6) seaweed soup. 95% of the meal was waaayy outside my comfort zone, but I ate some of everything and had much fun. They are a sweet family and it was so nice of them to have me over.

All these people who are leaving keep giving us things, and Rachel and I are noticing that our apartment is beginning to look like Asians live here. We have little Chinese charms hanging everywhere, Korean ingredients in the fridge, a jar of chopsticks on the counter, and office supplies with cute pastel animals on them.

I am looking forward to a trip to Kansas next weekend for Anne’s graduation party, and another one the weekend after that for her actual graduation. So excited! On that note, here’s a fun vest. I wish I had had one to carry Oscar around in, back when he was skinny.

I don't understand why the foliage is necessary.

… and whoever is responsible for this picture is probably not anywhere near that line.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

HAHAHAHAAAHAHA! HAHA.

Anne put this on facebook last night and I almost fell out of my chair with glee and fright. I have not yet heard who thought this would be a good idea or if they still have all of their limbs.

If this picture is just too much for you, you can look at the original version here! The inspiration, if you will. It’s not quite as horrifying.

This website is devoted to pictures of Tom Selleck, waterfalls, and sandwiches. It’s pretty fun to scroll through and look at all the pictures, and then you realize that they are, indeed, all pictures of Tom Selleck, a waterfall, and a sandwich. And then it’s still kind of funny.

Behold! Yonder, through the trees. Looks like meatloaf.

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.

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.

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.

It’s nice having everyone in one state, THAT NEVER HAPPENS. In the race to get home on Tuesday, I beat Frances by a hair, and arrived in time to join the trip to pick her up from the airport. We’ve been spending a lot of quality time either eating or watching TV. God bless America! Sigh. What a good break.
My blog got a makeover! How about that. Frances made it look hip. Thank you Frances!
Some of the things I have done:
  • I went to a rollerskating party with my friend Cali. It was terrifying! All of these small children were shooting recklessly about the rink. Once I remembered how to skate, it was better.
  • We had Thanksgiving dinner at our Lentell grandparents’ house, and it was DELICIOUS. The turkey was so buttery and tryptophany.
  • I spent some time with Frances’ friends and we baked a cake using a yellow cake mix and a can of Pepsi. The middle was sunken in and it tasted how you would expect a cake made of such ingredients to taste, but let me share a proverb that I try to always live by: Cake is better than no cake.
  • I went on another free music binge and downloaded quite a bit of world music off Amazon. I’ve got some Hebrew, Arabic, French, Turkish, and Bollywood hits. There is plenty of music in English as well, but that’s boring.
  • I’ve been playing a lot of tug-of-war/rope-a-dope with Greasy. I mean, Gracie. I thought of kidnapping her and taking her back to OU with me, but Mom would probably disown me.
  • Last night we made frozen yogurt (yogurt + sugar + cold) and fried apple cider donuts. Frances did most of it. The only thing I did was cook the apple cider and later bob for donuts in hot oil. They were some pretty delicious donuts; I recommend asking Frances for the recipe.
  • I’m working through the third Harry Potter book in Hebrew. It goes REALLY slowly. And I keep getting hung up on words like “muggles” and “Privet Drive.” I’m getting better at it though, and my record is reading two lines without having to look anything up. Woohoo!
  • We decorated the Christmas tree! It looks magnificent.
  • Oh. Also I have been doing some (a lot of) homework. I have a test on Tuesday, a group debate on Thursday, and also two papers due on Thursday. And a paper due Monday. And then finals! I’m gonna diiiee.
I’m leaving tomorrow morning to go back to reality. Wish me luck!
I had such a wonderful weekend! I got to go HOME and see the family. Here are a few of the many glorious things I did:
  • Ate Mom’s scrumptious ginger pork, chicken-fried steak, creamed corn, and molasses bars. Wow, when I write it out, it looks like I spent the weekend at the Cracker Barrel. Well, I didn’t.
  • Renewed my drivers license. Three cheers for driving legally!
  • Cleaned out the Honda. Then cleaned off the Honda.
  • Played sneak-attack with the dog
  • Went out to lunch with Dad at a wonderful Thai restaurant. My pad thai was overwhelmingly spicy! My eyes were watering, so I asked the server for a glass of milk. She said they didn’t have any, and silently judged me for my wimpiness.
  • Dad took me to spend some quality time at Eighth Day Books, which is one of the best places in the world.
  • Mom took me shopping at Old Navy because she had a coupon for 30% off anything and everything and because she is amazing. I got several new shirts. Now when you see me, you will no longer say, “Caroline, you look like you fell out of the Goodwill tree and hit every branch on the way down.” I don’t know what you’ll say instead; you’ll probably comment on how classy I look, or how I only hit most of the branches.
  • I took Anne some lunch at school. We split a Dairy Queen chicken strip basket and talked about Louis Armstrong.
  • Oh, I also did laundry.
  • Lest you read this list and think I did a lot of stuff, please know that I spent a lot of time watching movies and TV and staring off into space and lovingly petting the cat and ignoring the cloud of papers and projects that is looming ever nearer. It was a blissful weekend.
A fun experience: last night while I was frantically trying to finish homework for my night class, I suddenly started receiving texts from strangers, telling me what superpower they would want (pyrokenesis and the ability to summon butterflies were my favorites). THEN people started telling me what kitchen appliance is their favorite. So I texted some of them back and ended up having several different conversations on a variety of topics (God, fish, Russian novels, X-Men, etc). It brightened my day. Oh, also, it was Cody’s fault.
This morning on the way to class, my friend and I saw a large hawk sitting on a low branch of a tree. I said, “Let’s CATCH it!” and as we were creeping up on it, it suddenly swooped over our heads to a different tree and we saw it was holding a giant rat in its talons. It was so majestic!