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Today when I was kicking acorns, I hit two people, and one of them was on crutches.

It’s Thursday! Three exams down, one to go. Study study panic panic. I know I’m not the first person to notice this, but somehow the longer I have to choose between Studying and Doing Less Productive Things, the second option seems more and more appealing. That is probably why I am writing a blog post. And why I whipped up some chili for lunch yesterday and have been practicing banjo rolls (less action-packed than it sounds, but still fun). Don’t worry, my grades are not suffering; willpower generally wins.

Today when I was walking on campus I overheard this conversation snippet: “This is a pretty well-planned riot, don’t you think? They brought grappling hooks.”

New furniture! It’s lovely and still smells like furniture factory. My favorite thing (other than my giant bed) is our green pleather chair. I can tell that we are gonna be friends.

Here’s a video of a fat cat trying to climb into a pot. Somehow it’s completely hilarious.

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.

 

It kind of reminds me of Oscar (remember him?), but larger, rounder, and less resentful. And also it’s a different animal.

Last night I threw out my little chamomile plant that I got at the Botany Club sale in the spring. It was completely brown and droopy and dead, in every sense of the word. I hummed “Taps” as I solemnly tossed it into the dumpster. With it went all my dreams for it – the tea I could have made, the good times we could have had together.

My schefflera, Charlie, is growing at a 45-degree angle toward the window, like it’s trying to escape. It is mostly alive, but the fact that it looks a little dumb is undeniable. I’m ashamed of it, and I think it senses that. (WHY, Charlie? What happened to us?)

My friend Andrew left three of his plants in my care over the summer, which was unwise. He was fully aware of my plant-slaughter capabilities. One of them, a short, squatty flower, is completely faded and crunchy. I haven’t thrown it out yet because maybe Andrew wants it back. I don’t know. A pot of seedlings he left is bravely soldiering on, pale and faded, but living. The one that he apparently cares about the most, his sweetpea plant, is dead and its ghostly leaves haunt my dreams. I haven’t told him about this yet because I know that he will be even more despondent than I. I cannot bear that thought.

Rachel has a plant that I’ve always been scared of. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s huge and the stems are translucent, which is the main reason why I don’t trust it. (I think even googly eyes wouldn’t help.) Last week it mysteriously dropped ALL of its leaves, which makes it even more terrifying. It has dropped every effort to appear friendly. I try to avoid sitting with my back to it.

I don’t understand – how can plants hate me when I love them so?

Today I found out I have been using staple removers wrong for my whole life.

I’m enjoying my new job at the International Student Services office. Sometimes I can even answer a few questions without asking a supervisor or crawling under a bench in terror. The students’ names fascinate me. So far my favorite is Sock-Pin, which is someone’s first name. I’m not sure where it’s from, maybe Thailand? Thanks to that syllable-final non-nasal consonant, I think we can all agree that it ain’t Chinese.

Someone told me last week that the Chinese name their children by throwing forks in the bathtub.

Current music obsession: The Avett Brothers.

It is So Stinkin’ Hot. I am counting it as one of my many blessings though – since my clothes get steamed when I walk to work, I don’t need an iron.

The bark is falling off all the sycamore trees. Is this ok??? The bark is crunchy and fun to step on, but NATURE IS FALLING APART.

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.

The more you eat, the less you have to rake.

I’ve been pressing leaves lately, an activity that keeps me pretty busy. Yesterday I thought it had probably been about three weeks since I smooshed them in a book, so I took them out and they are beautiful! My favorite are the gingko leaves. A close second is the giant sycamore leaf that is bigger than my head.

Anyway, here is a link to lots of pictures of leaves. I liked it, so you might too! My favorite might be the Swiss army tree.


As I’m sure you know, the current Cool Thing In The Sky is the Leonids meteor shower. Last night Cody and I joined Rachel and the Germans (they had been watching German Forrest Gump) and we stared into the depths of the universe. Actually, we mostly lay on the grass and said, “I think maybe I might perhaps have possibly seen one! Over there.” And we discussed the catastrophic possibility of the Big Dipper falling onto us from the heavens (threat level: orange! Be very afraid!). And the Germans whistled some opera for us. And a good time was had by all.

P.S. Frances, that falling star song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Mwah hahaha!