Random Stuff List

December 12, 2014


1. Last weekend, I took a whirlwind trip to Dayton, Ohio, to help reunite a Japanese friend with her high school English teacher who lives there.

This guy was AMAZING. He’s 73 years old and could still remember the names of all my friend’s classmates, the clubs she was in and the article she wrote for the newspaper club — some 20 years after the fact! I was stunned.

You guys, I can’t even remember half of my students’ names from last semester. For real.

2. While in Dayton, we visited the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and the Wright Cycle Company. 

I learned a whole lot more about the Wright brothers than I ever thought I’d need to know. Like, hey, did you know they used to be printers and then bicycle-makers before they got into the crazy business of flying planes?

I also learned about Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African-American poet from Dayton, who I am kind of embarrassed to admit I never knew about. Like, hey did you know that his poem “Sympathy” included the line, “I know why the caged bird sings,” which inspired Maya Angelou’s poem with that title? I always thought she came up with that by herself. Wow, I kind of suck as a former English major.

This photo has nothing to do with the Wrights or Mr. Dunbar. I just like chatting with old timey mannequins at museums.

At the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. This photo has nothing to do with the Wrights or Mr. Dunbar. I just like chatting with old timey mannequins at museums.

Also, while in Dayton, I learned about some foods. Like, hey, did you know that French toast kabobs exist? And they are perfection.

french toast

Hello, lover.

 3. As of this Friday, I am officially on winter break, which means I’ll be work-free for an ENTIRE MONTH. YEEEEYYYYAAAAAAAHHHHH!

Since I worked all summer, I haven’t had a real break since my spring break last March. Which, I know, may not sound like a big deal for all you folks who are working non-teaching jobs that only give you two weeks of vacay each year. Trust me, I’ve lived that life before.

But then I became a teacher for a reason and that reason is PLENTIFUL VACATION TIME!

So I’ve got loads of fun trips and adventures lined up. In addition to plans to do ALL THE THINGS I’ve been meaning to do all year but haven’t gotten around to — like hanging up shelves in my bathroom and framing those prints that have been under my bed for nine years and uploading all my photo albums and cleaning out my closets and saving the world and on and on and on.

Or, I’ll  just, you know, sit on my couch and watch Lifetime Christmas movies on Netflix all day.

It’s a toss up, really.

 4. My first winter break adventure starts this weekend, and it’s a trip to Detroit!

Despite having lived in Michigan for the last year and a half, this will be my first time visiting the Motor City since I moved here and I’m SO EXCITED. I know that sounds super strange because who in their right mind gets excited about visiting Detroit? But I’ve been hearing lots of awesome stuff about the city’s regeneration and all the fun things to do there.

(Don’t believe me? Check out this post by Hecktic Travels.)

Plus, as a girl from Buffalo, I feel like I’ve got to root for my fellow Rust Belt cities. GOOOOOOO, RUUSST BEELLTT!!!

5. Speaking of Buffalo, I love this video about the history of Buffalo.

I had no idea my hometown was home to the first movie cinema and the first coffee break. These are like two of my favorite things!

Hellooo, Buffallooo.

Hellooo, Buffallooo.

6. Have you seen Lonely Planet’s list of top places to visit in the United States for 2015?

It really made me feel the need to go visit Indianapolis already.

I can’t say I ever thought I’d say that.

7. My mom called me this week to tell me she went to her “first gay wedding” last weekend. Which meant we had a conversation like this:

My mom: “I learned a new gay term!”

Me: “Umm, okay, what?

My mom: “Bear! It means –”

Me: “Mom, I know what bear means.”

My mom: “Oh, okay.”

Have I mentioned I love my mom?

My mom is the bestest.

My mom is the bestest. And she knows how to milk goats. So that’s cool.

 8. I’m reading Bone Clocks right now because everyone on the Facebook kept talking about it. Even NPR raved about it.

I’m not quite sure what I think of it yet. I like parts of it, but other parts are just kind of… ummm… weird. And I’m having trouble keeping track of all the characters.

Have you read it? Am I just not getting it?


9. Speaking of books, I’m LOVING all the year-end book lists that everyone keeps posting on their blogs.

I’ve been thinking about doing the same, but that would require my looking through my Kindle to try to remember all the books I read this year and then writing about each one, and that sounds like a lot of work because I read a ridiculous amount of books.

So maybe instead I’ll just tell you to read ALL THE BOOKS by Rainbow Rowell.

The end.

10. I am almost (ALMOST) over my desire to put pumpkin into all the things. Which means I need to move on to a new baking ingredient. Preferably something really Christmassy.

I made this cranberry orange pecan coffee cake this week, but in muffin-form, and they were EVERYTHING. Should I just start putting cranberries into all the things? I feel like cranberries don’t get nearly enough love. They’re like the black sheep of the berry family — you know like that crusty, old uncle you only ever invite over for Thanksgiving.

But in a good way.

(Okay, I’ll admit that analogy did not make me want to put cranberries into anything ever.)

11. I can relate so much to this post on C’est Christine, on life changes and how that affects your blog, and how some people kind of expect your blog to stay the same forever and ever, even when you don’t.

I occasionally get comments or emails from people who tell me they liked my blog much better when I lived in China and was writing about traveling more. I totally get it. I mean, life in China was probably a lot more interesting to read about. Especially when it involved tales of my ridiculously orange couch.

I do miss this thing.

I do miss this thing.

But, at the same time, how am I supposed to respond to comments like that. “I’m sorry you don’t like my life now, but it’s kinda working for me, so yeah…”?

12. I found this article on what your airplane seat selection says about you spot-on for me.

I am totally an aisle person all the way. Because, FREEDOM!

Also, I drink a million gallons of water and have a bladder the size of a pinto bean.

Are you an aisle, window or middle seat person? (Ha! As if anyone would EVER be a middle-seat person! That’s just crazy-talk.)

Hey folks, how was your week? What are you getting up to this weekend?

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

  1. On December 12, 2014 at 9:56 am Camels & Chocolate said:

    I love that you’re a fellow Rowell fan! I have one more to read (Fangirl) and then I’ll have read them all.

    I have a new book I’m loving that I’m about 60% through: Emily & Einstein. So well written and a very different kind of story.

    Also, FRENCH TOAST KABOBS? Is it weird to plan a trip to Dayton for that reason alone?
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Eat. Sip. Stroll.

  2. On December 12, 2014 at 10:18 am Christine said:

    Thanks for the mention, and so glad to know I’m not not the only one who feels this way! 🙂

  3. On December 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm becky hutner said:

    Can’t wait to hear your impressions of Detroit! I’m headed there in May for a music festival. Excited to explore the abandoned buildings which sounds callous but I imagine they’ll make for cool, creepy photos?

    aisle person because views!

    becky hutner recently posted..Fashion ‘Round the World: FALL ’14

    • On December 16, 2014 at 10:54 am Sally said:

      Detroit was fantastic. REALLY. I can’t wait to write about it… and to go back and see all the stuff I missed on this first trip. (Including the abandoned buildings — I saw a lot of them on the outside, but I didn’t have the guts or sturdy enough footwear to attempt going inside.)

  4. On December 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm ChristineNevada said:

    Hi!Thanks for the book recommendation; The Bone Clocks sounds really interesting! Here’s one I’m reading now: She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes.
    Hey! Are you a podcast listener? You seem like someone who would love Craft-Lit with Heather Ordover. She’s a very hip English teacher that shares audio classics, [and even discusses them!], with her listeners.
    Yes! I want to know about The D. I might get out there myself next year, so fill me in!
    Christine in Nevada.

    • On December 16, 2014 at 10:53 am Sally said:

      I used to be a big podcast listener when I had an ipod that worked more reliably than my current one, but I’d like to get back into the practice. I imagine myself knitting and listening to podcasts and just generally becoming an awesomer person. So thank you so much for the suggestion!
      (And, Detroit was unexpectedly AWESOME. Can’t wait to write a post about it.)

  5. On December 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm Rebekah said:

    Well I like your blog because of how you write, so even if you move into a shoe I’ll probably still read it. Though I wouldn’t suggest moving into a shoe. I love reading lists of places to travel to in America- I always want to see if they include my home, Maine, and then if I don’t I dismiss the list as crap. I’m largely biased.
    Rebekah recently posted..Tibetan Sky Burials

  6. On December 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm Priya said:

    Speaking of reading — I need to start reading more. That’s on my to-do list. Right now I’m reading a book about a girl who’s made a porn-to-do list and has labeled herself a good girl all of her life and wants to learn more about the porn industry and all things related. It’s actually quite interesting and she’s written it in a humorous way.
    Priya recently posted..On Moving Flats Unexpectedly, Living Without WiFi, & Figuring Out My Next Travel Move

  7. On December 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm ChinaMatt said:

    Oh, should I put together my list of books from the past year? I’ve read a lot of free ebooks while on the road.
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Overlooking San Marco Square

    • On December 16, 2014 at 10:47 am Sally said:

      I’d love to hear about your suggestions for free ebooks. I always buy the bestsellers because I love to read what everyone’s talking about — but this gets a bit pricy. I think for the new year, I should switch to free ebooks or go to my library more.

      • On December 16, 2014 at 10:59 am ChinaMatt said:

        Most classics are free on Amazon, but you can also check what’s available on gutenberg.org. I’ve read Princess of Mars, Moby Dick, and The Jungle most recently. Great way to catch up on what I missed in school.
        ChinaMatt recently posted..Overlooking San Marco Square

        • On December 25, 2014 at 11:24 am Sally said:

          Confession time: Even though I was an English major and love reading, I’m really not into reading classics. I like to read what everybody else is reading and talking about right now. Plus, since I usually read at night, I like to read stuff I don’t have to think too hard about. One of my goals this winter is to actually get through something classic… but I’ll probably have to start reading in the afternoon when my brain is still semi-functioning.

  8. On December 19, 2014 at 8:53 pm Naomi said:

    Not surprised you hadn’t heard of an African-American poet. Seems to me it’s only very recently that non white writers are getting the recognition for their work, just reflects racist society of the past I guess.
    Thankyou for the couch picture, I’ve been missing it too.
    My preferred free ebook site is http://manybooks.net. Have found some amazing old travel literature on there like Mark Twain’s writings, Robert Loius Stevenson and even one about the first guy to cycle around the world in the 1880s – on a penny farthing!!
    Naomi recently posted..Browning off and heating up

  9. On March 3, 2015 at 11:25 pm Ceri said:

    I am definitely a window person when it comes to airplane seats, *however*, I actually have to sit in an aisle seat now. My legs swell up during flights so I have to spend most of the time up and about, walking around and annoying the cabin crew.

    I definitely need to check out some Rainbow Rowell. Everyone seems to rave about those books but I haven’t looked at any yet.
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in February

    • On March 6, 2015 at 8:23 am Sally said:

      My legs do that too. It’s so disgusting. I spend most of the flight walking up and down the aisles, stretching in the bathroom and chugging gallons of water because I’m so worried I’m going to get deep vein thrombosis or something.


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