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Things I’ve been doing lately:

  • Going to class. I’m taking Hebrew Grammar, Hebrew Bible as Literature, Freedom in Rome, and Evil in Modern Europe. They are all wonderful, which is a nice way to end my college career.
  • Playing the accordion. Funnest instrument ever (THANKS GRANDMA)! I played it at a friend’s concert and sometimes play it in worship at church. No one has complained yet, although my suggestions that we “polka it up” go completely unheeded.
  • Putting six snow days to good use (aka gleefully squander them). I spent most of my time with friends–we built a blanket fort, went on loooong walks, read, had jam sessions with strangers, made bagels, painted pictures (of an owl, a woolly mammoth, and six meerkats).
  • Met with an adviser to get a degree check. I will indeed be graduating this semester, as we suspected.
  • Dealing with various scary grown-up institutions, like the pharmacy and Department of Human Services.
  • Swing dancing. And Israeli folk dancing. And the Charleston.
  • Attending book sales. I need more bookshelves!

Things I have not been doing lately:

  • Writing on a blog, obviously.

I have now been to all of my classes and am so far feeling wildly ambivalent about them. Other than my communication classes, which I told you about last week, I am also taking Symbolic Logic and Freedom in Greece. I’m not sure why Symbolic Logic is required for my major or how to feel about it yet. It doesn’t seem hard–so far we are working with arguments like “All females are pretty. Jenny Craig is a female. It follows that Jenny Craig is pretty.” Freedom in Greece is basically storytime, which is exciting! The professor paces around the lecture hall and tells us stories from the Iliad that will make us better human beings, and sometimes he pokes at us with a stick. Maybe that last part is why I still have reservations about this class, because the rest of it is pretty great.

It’s been a busyfun weekend. After work on Friday, I went to “Art After Hours” at the OU art museum with some friends, where we learned about Turkery fashion in portraits by John Singleton Copley. Then we cooked some burgers and went to a free Ben Kweller concert. There I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen for a year (she was studying rice farming methods in Indonesia) and we talked for a long while and then I hitched a ride on her bicycle back to Kraettli. (This is my new favorite way to travel.) On Saturday, Anne and I had a delightful homework picnic (we were so productive) and I took some brownies next door to meet my new Armenian neighbors. In the evening, I took a friend out for a birthday dinner. It was slightly chaotic–we had to go quite late because she is fasting for Ramadan, and we were joined by an American, a Korean, five French girls, and a Moroccan. So much fun! They all thought Johnny Carino’s was a very beautiful restaurant. When we got back to Kraettli, we all went to a party some Koreans were having. I love Koreans! They are adorable. They were sitting around a giant bowl of potato chips, which they dipped in ketchup. This morning I went to early early church and then hammocked and watched the squirrels romp about. Then Anne bought me a panino at the Union. Good day, yes?

My favorite Copley painting. Maybe my favorite painting ever?! Hmm.

So, what’s going on with Kraettli the Greatly this year, you ask? Excellent question. The weekly gatherings will not be happening, for various reasons that I can discuss with you if you would like. This is a big bummer. But I’m looking forward to getting to know international students better in one-on-one relationships, and hopefully we’ll still have a lot of movie parties and game nights. Also, a lot of my new neighbors seem to have children; maybe there is babysitting in my future. Basically it’s going to be a lot different this year than it has been in the past, but probably just as greatly, if not–dare I say–greatlier?! I have high hopes.

  • A hammock – I ordered a knock-off version of this hammock (from here) and it came in the mail the other day! I was on my way to the pool at the time, and ended up ditching that plan in favor of quality hammock time. It is AWESOME. I want to live in it. I have been taking it everywhere I go (it’s quite light). Happy sigh.
  • A piano – One of my friends is going out of town for a few weeks and I offered to babysit his piano. Yesterday he and his piano appeared on my doorstep, which is hilarious because I live on the second floor. It was an unexpected sight. How perfectly pleasant to possess a piano!
  • The answer to the question, “When were skittles invented?” The book I’m reading, which was written in the 1890s, keeps declaring that life is “skittles and beer.” This seemed anachronistic to me, so I asked Wikipedia and discovered that the candy was invented in 1974, but it is also a sport, which dates back to 3300 BC in Ancient Egypt. Whoa. (It’s basically bowling.)
  • A lot of international students. Their visas allow them to enter the country thirty days prior to the start of the semester, so they have begun trickling in. My experience in Israel involved getting yelled at by everyone (including the lady at the check-in office at the university) so I am doing my best to be super nice to these people.
  • A bird that looked like a tiny chicken came up to me as I was walking to work today. It had some red feathers on its head that looked like a comb. (And it was not a cardinal.) It wanted to be friends. Speaking of chickens, … never mind.
  • Jury duty summons. Ugh.
  • New contacts – thanks, Mom!

My life has been so musical lately! It’s refreshing. I found some pianos at the dorms that I’ve been playing, and when I was there on Sunday, a fellow I don’t know came over and gave me some pointers. For about an hour. Yesterday, my friend Maggie, who is a Music Composition major, took me to play the organ in Catlett Hall, which was great! Swell! Positive! (Haha! Organ pun.) I haven’t played an organ in a while, and I miss it a lot. Hopefully this will become a regular occurrence. Also, Maggie and I agree that the OU organ department needs a falcon. Maybe someday this dream can become a reality. In other musical news, my project for this evening is to learn a song on the banjo.

Summer is nice. I’m enjoying the slow pace – mostly I’m reading extensively and making frequent runs to various libraries, going on walks with friends, cooking and eating with friends, watching movies with friends, painting fences, eating cherries, looking for buried treasure, etc. On Sunday night some friends invited me to a “game night,” and when I got there, they were all sitting on the sofa in the dark, talking, and someone was playing the banjo. I wish every social gathering could be like that. In short: nothing thrilling is happening and I looove it.

At the ISS office we got a new air freshener that perches atop a cabinet and puffs out fragrance every 36 minutes. She reminds me of the white robot from Wall-E, and we call her Clarisse. I’ve been trying to get everyone in the office to say, “Gesundheit, Clarisse” every time it puffs, but so far I’m the only one who thinks this is funny. (And only gets funnier, every 36 minutes.)

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.

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Catharina von Schlegel 1752

Fact: A lot of Israelis wear shirts with English writing on them. A lot of times the writing makes no sense at all.
Hypothesis: They don’t know what their shirts say. (This might be similar to people getting tattoos of Chinese characters and not knowing if it says “tranquility” or “sesame chicken.”
Idea: A lot of the things I saw on t-shirts would make great band names. I could start a business. Here are some of them:
Active Actitude!
Zipstyle fun and glory
Tick tock apple clock
Space disco

Last summer I noticed a lot of Israelis wear shirts with English writing on them. A lot of times the writing makes no sense at all.

Hypothesis: They don’t know what their shirts say. (This might be similar to people getting tattoos of Chinese characters and not knowing if it says “tranquility” or “sesame chicken.”)

Idea: A lot of the things I saw on t-shirts would make great band names. I could start a business. Some of my favorites were:

  • Active Actitude!
  • Zipstyle fun and glory
  • Tick tock apple clock
  • Space disco

What brought these fond memories back: On Sunday when I was driving back from Andover to Norman, I saw billboards for Ponca City that had sayings like “Agile Econovation.” Which would be a terrible band name.

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

William Walsham How 1864

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.
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!