My Life in Michigan Report Card

December 11, 2013


Hey, you guys, it’s the end of the semester!

We all know what that means, right?

I get to spend the next three weeks hanging out in my pajamas and whining on Facebook every time I’m forced to leave the house before noon. I’m sure you’re all really excited for me.

Also, it’s report card time!

Well, actually, since I teach at a university, we don’t really do report cards. We just enter our grades into the magical Internet machine and then the students magically get their grades while I magically disappear into a cloud of smoke and mirrors and I-won’t-be-checking-my-work-email-over-winter-break-so-don’t-even-try.

As I’ve been working on my students’ grades, I’ve been thinking about what grade I might give myself for the past four months since moving to Michigan. So I thought I’d come up with my own report card of sorts, in which I grade myself on stuff.

Surprisingly, I didn’t get all A’s. Even though I was the one doing all the grading.

What’s the deal with that?

Maybe I should send myself an email complaining about my grades. And then ask myself if I can do some kind of extra credit even though the semester is technically over. Because we all know that totally works.

Phys Ed

As someone who used to really hate gym class, it’s more than a bit weird that I’ve become something of a fitness nerd lately.

Like, I’m that person who gets really excited about her new pedometer.

But, seriously, who wouldn't be excited about THIS?

But, seriously, who wouldn’t be excited about THIS?

And runs around the office asking her coworkers, “Hey, do you want to see my new pedometer?” And then pulls it out to show them even though it’s kind of obvious that they do not want to see it.

And then decides to walk home in a snowstorm just so she can get her recommended 10,000 steps in.

I swear to you this was stormy. Kind of.

I swear to you this was stormy. Kind of.

Yep, I’m that kind of nerd.

I’ve also started taking yoga classes.

Yes! Me! Yoga!

Surprisingly, I like it.

And even more surprising: I’m not that bad at it.

Or, at least, I don’t know if I’m bad at it. Since the majority of my time in class is spent either facing the floor or facing the ceiling, I can’t see how horrible I’m doing or how wonderfully awesome everyone else is doing.

Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.

Also bliss: telling yourself that you’re secretly good at yoga.


A all the way!

Sure, I could go to the gym more.

And, sure, I haven’t lost a single pound despite the fact that I walk so much I now have perpetual shin splints.

But I’ve finally faced my lifelong fear of group fitness classes! And I finally know what a downward dog is! And it has nothing to do with dogs. Weird.

Home Ec

In another who-is-this-person-and-what-is-she-doing-in-my-pants way, I’ve also become something of a chef over the past few months.

After years with little more than salt and pepper and tins of tuna in my kitchen cabinets, I’m now the type of person who owns ingredients.

Behold: Ingredients!

Behold: Ingredients!

I even own ingredients I don’t understand!

Like, cream of tartar. What the hell is that? I know it’s not cream because it’s a powder. And Tartar? Is that a place? It sounds like a place. If so, we need to call them and tell them there’s something wrong with all their cream.

Granted my cooking repertoire is still a bit limited.

Basically, I make soup.

A LOT of soup. So much soup that this is my freezer at the moment:


Yes, it’s true. I’m a soup hoarder.

I even asked for a Crock Pot for Christmas. So I could make soup while I’m not making soup.


I also, occasionally, make cake.

Behold: cake!

Behold: cake!

Although I don’t have the same stockpile of cake like I do of soup. I wonder why that is?

Oh, probably because I ate it all.


I get an A for eating all the cake.


Hey, remember when I signed up to take a Chinese painting class? Well, I finished that last week.

I even got this nifty certificate:

2013-12-02 18.10.46

Wahoo! I done graduated!

And while I would like to say it was all uphill after the droopy grape incident, I have to admit my Chinese painting ability has proven to be kind of hit or miss.

I rocked the lotus.



I bombed the plum blossoms.

Errm, not quite.

Errm, not quite.

And my last piece… well… you decide.

pine tree

Ummm, well….

And while you’re at it, can you help me decide what the deal is with that rock in the middle? And, yes, that is a rock. Or it’s supposed to be a rock. Although, I’m pretty sure rocks like that don’t exist in nature. Not even in Chinese nature. And some freaky stuff exists in Chinese nature.


I’m giving myself a B because I was much better than I ever thought I would be, but, still, I can’t forget the droopy grapes. Or that weirdo rock.


I suck at budgeting. I really do. I suspect this has something to do with living in campus housing in Asia for four and a half years and never having to worry about spending my money on silly things like rent.

I usually like to blame money-thieving elves for my lack of money rather than myself, but, recently, I’ve been trying to keep better track of my expenses. I’ve even started writing down all my purchases in a little notebook.

This has kind of helped me cut back on my spending. Mostly because I’m lazy and don’t feel like writing down what I bought, so I just don’t buy it.

But I still splurge a bit more than I should.

Like, I still buy way too many five-dollar coffee beverages.

And the other week I went out to buy one pair of boots.

And I bought three.



In my defense, BOOTS.


I’m giving myself a C because I still really suck at budgeting.

And I still really suspect money-thieving elves.

Social Studies

While I’ve made a few friends at work, I could really stand to be more social and meet more people. I should probably go to more things. But the kind of things where people actually talk to you.

As it turns out yoga classes and male strip shows are not really those kind of things.

Who knew?

Not the best way to make friends, just FYI.

Not the best way to make friends, just FYI.

(And, yes, I know social studies is not really about being social, but whatevs.)


I get an F for friends.

As in I need some.

Wanna be mine?

Auto Mechanics

Since I live within walking distance to work and most everything else I need to get to, I usually just walk and ignore my car.

And then hope it doesn’t blow up on me during the one or two times a week that I attempt drive it.

Dear car, do not blow up, kthxbye.

Dear car, do not blow up, kthxbye.

But this weekend, I checked the oil in my car for the first time ever.

I also learned where to put the transmission fluid. Although I feel like transmission fluid is kind of like the cream of tartar of auto mechanics. What the heck is the transmission and what does it even do? And why does it need fluid?


Errm, U for Unable to Assess Because Cars Are Scary and Possibly Explosive.


Is there an opposite of writer’s block? Where you have, like, a million-billion ideas you want to write about but not enough time to write about them?

And when you do have the time you find yourself sitting in front of Netflix watching teenage dramedies even though you’re a thirty-seven-year-old grown woman and SHUT UP THE CARRIE DIARIES ARE ON.

Because I’m pretty sure I’ve had that this semester.

I’ve wanted to tell you about all this stuff that’s been happening in my life because it’s all so new and I’m like that and I over-share, but, at the same time, just sitting down and writing about all the stuff is so hard because where do I even start?

With the soup?

Or with the shin splints?

Or with my new favorite, creepy, old cemetery because I have one of those?


My favorite.

Or with the cable guy who asked me out and then never called me until four weeks later and tried to sexy-talk with me and I was like, “Ahhh! What are you doing? I don’t even know you!” and I hung up the phone?

Do I just start there?

Or do I just watch more Netflix?

Usually, I just watch more Netflix.


I for Incomplete.

As in all the incomplete blog entries that are currently floating around my computer.

And all the times I’ve thought to myself, “Hey, I should write about that.”

And then didn’t.

Probably because I was too busy watching cheesy television shows.

Or eating cake.

Possibly both.

(Most definitely both.)

How would you grade yourself this past year? Are you A’s all the way or are you going to need to ask for some extra credit for this year?



I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On December 11, 2013 at 11:50 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    You know, when you take the national tests here in the UK at age 16 (GCSEs), you can get a grade ‘U’. It stands for ‘unclassified’. As in, “so bad you don’t even deserve a letter between A and G”.

    You know, I’m surprised there isn’t a category related to cheese here. Or fried chicken. Or giant margaritas. Or drooling over actors from K-Dramas with their muscles bursting out of their shirts and ohmygod…

    I’d give myself an A for achievement this year. Although with the way my body is feeling now (read: EVERYTHING ACHES), I’m pretty sure I’d fail phys ed.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Where To Live In Korea: Is Seoul A Good Fit For First-timers?

    • On December 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm Sally said:

      I was trying to stick to actual real-live classes that are offered in school. Sadly, there are no fried chicken or margarita classes. If there were, I would ACE EVERY SINGLE EXAM.

  2. On December 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm mallory said:

    I totally get the same problem with my writing. Too many ideas is almost worse than writer’s block because I have NO idea where to begin, get overwhelmed by choice, and ignore it some more. (Which causes more ideas to pile up.)

    Also FitBits are the coolest. I totally geek out over mine. 🙂
    mallory recently posted..Minnesota beats

  3. On December 11, 2013 at 7:49 pm Priya said:

    Look at you. You’re now a a Chinese-painting-soup-making-yogi! Good for you! I’ve tried to make friends at my yogi studio but it’s really hard. I occasionally chat with other students but it never goes to the “hey, you wanna hang out sometime” point. The only reason I’ve made friends is because I’m part of a program.
    Priya recently posted..I Suck At Job Interviews. Seriously. *Here’s An Example From This Morning*

  4. On December 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm Sally said:

    This is genius. But I’d never share my grades on the internet, cause I’m the hardest grader and would give myself all Cs even though I’m doing totally fine…

    But really, I’m failing the cake category, I need some more cake in my life. Please eat an extra slice of cake for me, thanks!
    Sally recently posted..Photoessay: Korea’s Jeju Island

    • On December 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm Sally said:

      Oh, trust me, I’ve been eating extra slices for EVERYONE! But that’s no excuse for you to not eat cake. I think you have some extra cake credit to do!

  5. On December 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm Ross said:

    I will just use the pass/fail grading system and say I passed. I took a Chinese calligraphy class many years ago. It was fun but I didn’t have the patience to do well. Good on ya for taking the Chinese painting class.
    Ross recently posted..Hitchhiker

    • On December 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm Sally said:

      Yay, for passing! And, yes, the Chinese painting class was fun and didn’t really require much patience, actually. That was the one thing I really liked about it. You have to paint really quickly before the ink dries — unlike working with other kinds of paints. So each painting usually took less than 30 minutes.

  6. On December 12, 2013 at 7:17 am Briona said:

    I LOVE this post! However, I’m not sure about that pedometer. Are you sure it isn’t a Tamagotchi in disguise?!
    Briona recently posted..Madrid’s first cat café

    • On December 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm Sally said:

      It kind of is. It smiles at you when you’re doing well and sticks its tongue out at you when you’re being lazy. So you find yourself running around the room just to keep it happy. Or at least I do.

  7. On December 12, 2013 at 9:44 am Steph said:

    I’m super jealous of your soup.

  8. On December 13, 2013 at 6:30 am Hata Trbonja said:

    I will totally be your friend! We can go to yoga classes together. The only thing is that you have to come to France to do this. For this year I give myself a B+. Sometimes the cake, couch and cannister of pringles takes over and I have no motivation. I wish I could blog all day. But, my teaching job gets in the way.
    Love your blog.
    Hata Trbonja recently posted..Faux French

  9. On December 13, 2013 at 10:54 am Colleen Brynn said:

    Haha! Do your students know you write this blog? You’ve got me wondering if some of my professors have blogs now…
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Good Food.

    • On December 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm Sally said:

      Uh, no, they don’t. My students don’t even seem to think I exist off campus. The few times I run into them outside of school, they are completely and totally flabbergasted. I think if I informed them that I do indeed have a non-school life that involves a blog they would probably all die of shock. Plus, I’m terribly ungrammatically correct on my blog, so I don’t tell them about it for fear that they may think it’s completely okay to make sentences that consist of nothing more than the words “because” and “COOKIES.”

  10. On December 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    Actually downward dog totally has everything to do with dogs. Dogs DO the downward and upward dog every time they move after being still too long. Hence the name. If you want I can send you photos of my dog doing both.

    I think you have done well –and your report card shows you are able to both pat yourself on the back and say: “you need to do better”. And you know what? That is an A for being real and honest with yourself — and ummm… all of us.

    • On December 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm Sally said:

      I think I meant that there were no dogs involved in my actual doing of the downward dog. Which would have probably been awkward. So it’s all for the best!

  11. On December 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm Heather said:

    Girl, I can tell you a thing or two about cheesy TV shows. Since we’ve been back, I’ve discovered and am now addicted to Storage Wars, Tanked and Pitbulls & Parolees. Just today I watched maybe for hours of puppy shows on Animal Planet. I’ve had actual requests to write guest posts for other blogs and this is how I choose to spend my time! Oh, and I’ve bought six pairs of boots since coming home. *Lowers head in shame*
    Heather recently posted..Christmas in DC: Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

  12. On December 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm Aurora said:

    Making friends is the hardest! I’ve been in NYC just under a year and a half — and it is so hard to make new friends. Probably doesn’t help that I had to watch ALL of House of Cards and Parenthood…. and started Orange is the New Black (so…. maybe you have to try a little harder than I have). But, I’ll be your friend — come visit NYC!
    Aurora recently posted..Lessons from Trekking

    • On December 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm Sally said:

      Ah, yes, using Netflix to meet people definitely does have its drawbacks. Like the fact that you don’t actually meet people. But I feel like at least now I finally know what people are talking about. So if I DID meet people, I could talk to them about TV things.

  13. On December 18, 2013 at 11:09 am Ceri said:

    This is such a great idea for a post. I’d say you did really well this year. I’d give you a gold star for your report card – in spite of the F & I.

    My year would probably average out at a C. Lots of highs brought down by pathetic moments. 😛
    Ceri recently posted..In Defense of Vanilla Sex

  14. On December 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm choi kum fook said:

    Miss Sally, indeed you are really a super girl! So fast you have got your nifty certificate for painting, congratulation! Concerning to Yoga, as I know, learning it the early the better and you have to practice it gradually. I was told by an Austrian girl, a volunteer and Yoga expert who used to practice Yoga every morning before breakfast during the farm last year. How is your movement so far in Yoga, Sally?

    • On December 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm Sally said:

      I am still very much a beginner at yoga. In fact, I’m thinking about taking the basic class again because I think I need more practice before I take a “real” class with people who actually know what they’re doing!


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