Random Stuff List

January 11, 2015

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Happy Sunday funday, folks. Here’s some random stuff for you:

1. This week was my last week of winter break which meant I spent the entire week hanging out in my flannel polka-dotted pajamas and pink fluffy slippers, staring at that big long list of ALL THE THINGS I was going to do over winter break, and thinking, “What the heck was I thinking?”

But I did manage to knock two things off my list:

I wrote up my Mitten List — all the places I want to go to, things I want to do, food I want to eat and beer I want to drink in Michigan. Feel free to give me suggestions. Or, you know, you can always come visit me in Michigan to help me cross some items off my list. Lord knows all that Michigan beer isn’t going to drink itself!

And I organized all my closets! Mind you, I only have two closets in my apartment and neither of the two are particularly spacious, but it still took me three days, four trips to Walmart, and two random body injuries. Seriously, how do I manage to almost break my toe while putting together a shelving unit? I guess I’m just particularly talented.

2. I finally made my first trip to Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids last Sunday afternoon.

3 versions of "The American Horse" at Meijer Gardens

3 versions of “The American Horse” at Meijer Gardens

I’m not entirely sure why I waited until the dead of winter to go to an outdoor sculpture park, especially since I’ve been meaning to go there for foreeevvvvver.

Even though it involved trudging through snow and losing all feeling in my fingers, I have to say it was lovely.

And then we went and drank beers in an old church. As you do.

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At Brewery Vivant

3. I know I came up with a list of five fabulous new year’s resolutions for you, but I’ve also been thinking of a few new year’s resolutions for myself.

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m about ten days too late, but I’ve decided to start my resolutions with the start of the semester when I’m back at work because, obviously, I can’t be trusted to be productive on days when I’m not required to leave my house or wear pants.

Of course, my new year’s resolutions include the usuals: Go to the gym more, establish a better work-life balance, save more money, pay off some bills.

But also on my list is: stop hate-following certain people on social media. I feel really ashamed to say this, but there are a handful of people I follow on Facebook or bloggers that I read regularly simply because they drive me completely BONKERS. It’s horrible. I need to stop that.

I also want to get better at Instagram now that I have a phone with a semi-decent camera. Not that I really need to be any more addicted to the Internet, but, you know.

Another resolution is: get over my fear of baking with yeast. Yeast has always just kind of creeped me out. I mean, the whole idea that it’s alive and that I might kill it by accident feels so weird. It’s like baking with sea monkeys or something.

Pull apart bread made with yeast! Conquering my fears, one delicious loaf at a time.

Pull apart bread made with yeast! Conquering my fears, one delicious loaf at a time.

4. One resolution I’m not making: anything to do with blogging.

Every year, I make some big, ambitious resolution to write more posts by somehow magically becoming one of those people who can rattle off a post in two hours.

Whelp, you guys, I have finally come to accept the fact that I am not one of those people. I am ridiculously slow writer. And I am an even more ridiculously slow editor. I hem and I haw. I go back and forth between this word and that. I publish a post, and then spend two hours thinking about how I totally messed up the ending, and then I change the ending, and then spend another two hours wondering if I really should have changed the ending.

But I have resolved to write more non-bloggy stuff. Last semester, I took a storytelling class at the university where I work, and it reminded me of how much I miss writing stories. I mean, I love writing blog posts, but there’s just something so fun and different about writing a story — especially a story that you have to perform. Which also reminded me how much I miss performing.

5. So, I guess that makes another resolution: Perform more.

Or, at least, perform in front of an audience besides my students. Not that my students don’t make wonderful audience members. After all, they laugh at all my jokes.

But maybe I need a more objective audience, made up of people who aren’t worried that I’ll fail them if they don’t laugh at my jokes.

6. I finally relented and signed up for Amazon Prime, solely for the purpose of being able to watch Downton Abbey. Which means, of course, I’ve been binge-watching the show for the past week.

And as I do anytime I’m binge-watching a television show, I’ve convinced myself that I am actually in the show. I’ve started speaking with a really bad British accent and referring to my cat as Lady George.

Granted, she should probably start acting a bit more lady-like if she expects to earn her title.

Granted, she should probably start acting a bit more lady-like if she expects to earn her title.

Also, if you’re a big Downton Abbey fan, you need to watch this video of the ladies of Downton Abbey playing Cards Against Humanity.

7. You guys, I am THIS CLOSE to making these adorable junk food cat toys for my cat.

Nevermind, that my cat’s favorite toy is the free rubber band that comes on heads of broccoli.

8. The New York Times just issued their list of 52 places to visit in 2015.

I’ve been to 15. That is, if work trips count. And trips where you spend the entire weekend in a pub. Because that pretty much sums up the weekend I spent in Manchester.

Which places on the list do you want to visit this year?

I would love, Love, LOVE to get to Yellowstone and Greenland and, okay, ALL THE PLACES. Even Cleveland. (Don’t let the haters convince you otherwise. Cleveland really does rock.)

9. You guys, I have exactly 378 days until I turn 40.

I don’t really freak out about birthdays or age or anything like that, but HOW CAN I ALMOST BE 40 YEARS OLD, YOU GUYS??? That’s so ridiculous. I seriously feel like I’m still twenty-five, except maybe without so many anger issues. And a lot more knee problems.

But this essay on What You Learn in your 40s is making me think that maybe (MAYBE) I can survive being a forty-year-old.

My favorite part: “There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.”

I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a grown-up.

But winging it?

That I can do.

How was your week, folks? What did you get up to? How many New Year’s resolutions did you already break?

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

  1. On January 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm zoe said:

    Oh man, that NYT list. ALL THE PLACES.

    I have such a love-hate relationship with those sorts of lists, on the one hand they make me want to travel more, on the other hand I get all, ‘well, I’ll never make it to the republic of Georgia, why even bother leaving my sofa?’
    zoe recently posted..Les Miserables at the Crown Theatre: Review

  2. On January 11, 2015 at 7:35 pm Michelle said:

    I have 404 days until I turn 40…I’m with you… How is that possible.

  3. On January 12, 2015 at 1:04 pm becky hutner said:

    damn you for linking that NYT list. like my bucket list needs to get any fatter! been to a mere 8. most want to see tanzania & shanghai!

    drinking beer in an old church seems like the perfect wintry activity.
    becky hutner recently posted..12 LOOKS. 12 CITIES. 1 YEAR: Fashion ’round the world 2014.

  4. On January 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm Isabelle said:

    I’d love to go everywhere on the list! I’ve only been to 8 so still a lot more to see!
    Thanks for the link to that great article about what you learn in your 40s. I agree with everything! I’m 46 and can’t believe it but so far, my 40s is the best decade (I also said that about my 30s so I guess life improves!).
    No resolutions for me. I just go with the flow…

  5. On January 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm Pleddie said:

    40? Well OK. I would have guessed 13.

    What I have learned in my 70s: 1) All parents and those who write “How To Raise Your Child” books are winging it. 2) To quit identifying a woman as a young lady. For me, they are all young ladies. 3) Live in small apartments with only one closet OR move every two years. Money saved on rent and time and money saved on buying things you really don’t need and end up storing, will make it worth it. Moving give you the opportunity to throw it away and keep the economy strong, or get credit for recycling.

    You are half my age and I have only been to 12 of the 52. Good start. GO TO YELLOWSTONE! It is one of the most beautiful places and has the greatest variety of any of the National Parks I have visited. Go during the summer (sorry about the crowds), although snowmobiling during the winter sounds awesome. Has anyone done that and what did you think?

    Hey, beer in church isn’t unique. I understand some even have wine.

    • On January 24, 2015 at 9:52 am Sally said:

      Yes, I’m definitely putting Yellowstone on the list. Although I really HATE crowds. (Don’t ask me how I survived China. I don’t know.) I think maybe I’d like to go in late spring/early summer (like Mayish) when maybe there aren’t so many people there yet.

      • On January 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm Daina said:

        Yellowstone is AWESOME. One trick regarding avoiding crowds: mornings and evenings. Two factoids which impact that statement: There is little lodging in the park itself, so many people are staying outside the park and thus only show up after breakfast and leave around dinner time. Additionally, apparently many visitors nowadays only devote ONE day to the park, so they just hit up a couple of highlights. That’s insane. I was there for 3,5 days. saw a lot, but would love to go back and see more. We visited in the week before/after Labor day, which was a good time – most families with kids can no longer travel in that time frame, yet the weather was nice, and it just wasn’t that crowded.
        Daina recently posted..Book Recommendation: “White Field, Black Sheep”

        • On February 1, 2015 at 10:51 am Sally said:

          At the university where I work, we have to work 2 months of our 4-month summer session, and each year we alternate which 2 months we get off. For example, this year I have off July-August, and next year I’ll have off May-June. I’m trying to decide if I should go to Yellowstone this year sometime during July-August even though I know it’s going to be super packed as that’s when EVERYONE has a summer break, or wait until next year when I have a much earlier break and I know it won’t be quite so crowded. (Although I run the risk of running into school field trips. Uggh.) Thoughts?

          • On February 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm Daina said:

            Aha, I completely understand your dilemma. Yes, in that case you might be better off waiting until next year and going in late May or early June. It’s not like you don’t have place you’d like to visit in July/August, right? 🙂
            Daina recently posted..A Thought-Provoking Article

  6. On January 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm Aurora said:

    I turn 40 in 6 days (eep!) and though I’m excited (40’s the new fantastic!) – it is hard to believe that I am already here! But, it’s a good reminder to let go of fear – whether that is fear of baking with yeast or doing that thing you want to do but can’t find anyone to go with! So – with that in mind – 40 will be celebrated with beer, adventure, spicy margaritas, and fun travels.
    Aurora recently posted..Intentions for this new year

  7. On January 12, 2015 at 10:16 pm Jennifer said:

    Judging by our shared love of Michigan travel, Downton Abbey, writing slowly, and being scared of baking with yeast, I have a feeling you and I would be great friends. I’m resolving right now to read more Michigan blogs in 2015, and am excited to add yours to the list!

    -Jennifer
    Jennifer recently posted..MIA: Holiday Highlights Edition

  8. On January 13, 2015 at 12:39 am Priya said:

    You should star in a one woman and cat show 🙂
    Priya recently posted..Hobart’s First Impressions

  9. On January 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm Sara @ The Let's Go Ladies said:

    Heeyyyyy, I wanna drink beer in a church too! *jealous*
    Sara @ The Let’s Go Ladies recently posted..I’d Rather Be Back In Kaua’i

  10. On January 20, 2015 at 9:46 pm Daina said:

    Glad you made it to Meijer Gardens, but I definitely recommend checking it out again in another season. 🙂 Also – loooove that NYTimes op-ed about things you learn about in your 40s. I blogged about it, and sent it around to many girlfriends of various ages.
    Daina recently posted..Trying to Settle into 2015

  11. On January 22, 2015 at 12:23 am Miquel said:

    LOL I love the term hate-follow. I am also ashamed to admit I do it to. I think we all secretly do, but definitely something that we would be better off without!

    Loved this post. Cheers to Winging It!

    • On January 24, 2015 at 9:46 am Sally said:

      Well, here’s hoping I’m not one of the people you hate-follow. 🙂 Just kidding.
      (Not really. I’m NOT, right? You don’t hate-follow me do you?)

  12. On March 4, 2015 at 12:51 am Ceri said:

    I meant to read and concentrate on this entire post but got distracted by the fact that you said to follow people who you hate, Haha, I do the same, Well, I stalk them and deliberately read what they have to say before scoffing and rolling my eyes but I would never bring myself to actually follow them on social media. haha
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in February

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