Random Stuff List

September 6, 2015


Oh, hello there. How are you? I’m enjoying my Labor Day weekend by not laboring at all. Unless, you count binge-watching the last two seasons of The Good Wife laboring. In which case, I’ve been working SO HARD, YOU GUYS. Also, can I please have all of Julianna Margulies’ suit jackets in my size, please? I don’t care that I haven’t worn a suit since I left Japan, I still WANT THEM ALL.


Let’s talk random stuff, shall we?

1. I spent last weekend on my final solo-camping trip of the summer in Bay City, located right smack-dab in thumb-crotch region of Michigan. (I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t sound nice. But it’s really the best way I can describe it.)

Bay City was a quirky little surprise of a town packed full of antique shops and hipstery restaurants. The main reason why I was there was to take a cruise on a tall ship. Despite having lived on a sailboat for a month in Malaysia (long story), I’d never actually sailed on a sailboat before. It was super fun. They even let us help raise up the sails.


Raising the sails

Not that I did that. I was too busy taking pictures. I mean, this is me we’re talking about. Why be helpful when that might interfere with my ability to Instagram?

2. At least twice last weekend, I found myself being congratulated by strangers for doing stuff on my own. And, while I know people were just trying to be nice and encouraging, I find this, well, patronizing. You know?

First of all, the things I was being congratulated for doing on my own weren’t particularly difficult. I mean, I was going on a three-hour sailboat cruise with thirty other people. I wasn’t single-handedly sailing the boat across the Atlantic or anything.

Plus, I don’t go around congratulating people for doing stuff with their spouses/children/friends. And, frankly, I’ve seen some of their spouses/children/friends. Someone should probably congratulate them for hanging out with those monsters.

Also, I feel like nobody would ever congratulate a man for doing stuff on his own. Unless he was doing something really spectacular — like, say, single-handedly sailing a boat across the Atlantic.

(Am I being too much of a touchy crankypants about this? PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT BEING A TOUCHY CRANKYPANTS ABOUT THIS.)

3. On my way to Bay City, I stopped in Jackson, where I went to Cell Block 7, a prison museum inside an actual working prison. It was pretty intense. At one point, I was reading an exhibit and I could hear the inmates playing handball on the other side of the wall.

As it is a working prison, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos. In fact, I’ll probably be arrested for taking the photo below from the parking lot. Which is a real shame because, you guys, I do not look good in orange.


Unfortunately, my lack of photos means I will probably never write a blog post about it because I basically can’t remember anything if I don’t take a million pictures of it. And, sure, I could have just taken notes, but, GAH, that sounds like hard work.

4. I can’t believe I have to start teaching again this week! Aaahhhhhh, where did my summer break go??? SERIOUSLY. I’ve already been back at work a little bit this week — helping with orientation, prepping for this upcoming week and leading some activities for a group of Japanese students.

And it’s been EXHAUSTING. I don’t know how I’m going to get through actual classes with actual students who want me to do actual work, like teach them stuff and grade stuff.

(I know that you people who have had to work all summer feel absolutely no sympathy for me. But this will not stop me from whining for the next two weeks and acting like I deserve some kind of medal for waking up before ten. Consider yourself warned.)

5. Since it’s September, I’ve decided it’s high time I dust off my fall bucket list from last year and get cracking on it. Yes, I do realize it’s eighty degrees outside, but my biological clock is telling me it’s time for cider and donuts.


Cider and donut time!

A few things I’d like to add to my fall bucket list this year: go on a fall color tour via old-timey steam engine, spend a night staring at the stars in Headlands International Dark Sky Park and visit Manistee’s ghost ship. (Although I won’t be able to do that last one alone because I will die. So one of you has to go with me. Any takers? Anyone???)

6. You guys, BIG NEWS! I bought a new purse!

You see, for the past few years, I’ve had a separate travel and work purse. It was basically like I was living a double life. But, my travel purse was too small and beat-up for work. And my work purse was too bulky for travel and didn’t have one of those over-the-body-strap things. This meant I would have to switch between the two purses, and then I would always leave something super important, like my lip gloss, in the purse I wasn’t using.

Well, this week I finally bit the bullet and bought this purse which is technically a travel purse but is also cute enough to be a work purse. I love it. And, hopefully, the days of me leaving my lip gloss behind are over because you don’t even want to know me when I’m experiencing chapped lips, you guys.

7. I’m currently obsessed with this recipe for sesame peanut noodle salad. It’s the perfect meal to make when your kitchen is about a billion degrees and you have no intention of turning on your stove. Plus, it’s just so pretty.


Although, to be honest, I mostly just use the recipe for the sauce, and then just add whatever I happen to have in my fridge to the salad because who has bean sprouts on hand and what the heck is mangetout?

8. Umm, have you guys heard that Target wants to let customers drink while they shop. MY BANK ACCOUNT IS SO DOOMED, YOU GUYS.

9. Oh man, I felt for this girl, who confessed in her article to being an unskinny Asian. It was hard enough for me to be a (very) unskinny non-Asian in Asia, where people are more than happy to point out that you’re fat (and will even use hand gestures to reinforce the fact, in case, you know, they think you didn’t understand what they were saying). But, at the same time, I never felt like anyone really expected me to be skinny. I mean, I am American, after all.

10. Umm, you guys, how super excited are we for the new Muppets show? Umm, like SO EXCITED.

P.S. I know everyone’s upset about Miss Piggy and Kermit breaking up, but I always felt like Miss Piggy could do better. YES. I SAID IT.


How was your week? I hope it was full of lots of unlaboring and, possibly, some cider and donuts. (DON’T TELL ME IT’S TOO SOON. IT’S NEVER TOO SOON FOR CIDER AND DONUTS.)


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

  1. On September 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm Molly said:

    It drives me crazy when people give me’compliments’ for doing easy stuff on my own. Somebody congratulated me on being able to cook for myself! I was about ready to yell I’ve been able to cook for myself for nearly TWENTY YEARS!!!Living in a different location has not diminished my kitchen skills!! It was mighty patronizing, especially because I’m sure the person who said it doesn’t cook anything ever.

    I say not crankypants, or I’m a crankypants as well.

    • On September 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm Sally said:

      I’m intrigued by your comment, and surprised that anyone would compliment a woman for knowing how to cook. Usually it’s the other way around — people complimenting men for knowing how to cook (which is completely ridiculous and sexist… like when people compliment men on “babysitting” their own children). Did this person realize you’re an adult human being? I mean, cooking is not exactly brain science.

      • On September 7, 2015 at 5:54 pm Molly said:

        I guess they don’t think that I’m an adult or that I’m somehow really dumb. Clearly they don’t respect my skills. Well, I wont tell them my secret for removing rust from the toilet bowl, so take that! Ha!

        My Dad was the cook when I was growing up, I suppose he learned by watching his Mom and I learned by watching him. He didn’t make it seem hard so I guess it never occurred to me that it was hard?! I have no idea…

  2. On September 6, 2015 at 6:43 pm Judi said:

    I love your posts, Sally. I always look forward to your updates. 🙂

  3. On September 6, 2015 at 8:28 pm Rebecca said:

    I’ve just come back from 6 months travel in Europe, the UK and quick African Safari. And even tho I know there are a ton of ppl traveling the world with only a backpack. I felt I deserved all the compliments I got for only having carry on bags – a 20″ roll on, plus an under the seat tote.

    However, like you, I would not have appreciated being complimented just for traveling on my own. I am a single person, I do most things on my own.

    Having said that, I didn’t mind hearing that a newly divorced woman on only the second solo adventure since her divorce decided to use me as a role model and travel further and longer on her own in the future.

    It made me think that the people complimenting us on being “brave” enough to travel on our own are actually revealing a timidity in themselves, rather than making any real observations or judgments about our situations.

    During my trip, I was joined by various members of my family at different times. Enjoyable as those times were, I found the, much more difficult than traveling on my own.

    As a single parent, I moved many times when my children were growing up and we traveled often, in both cars and planes. That was also more difficult than traveling alone is today. And my kids were excellent travelers, because they both had very calm dispositions. Had they been prone to tantrums, I probably would have just left them with my mother and done all the rest by myself.

    So yeah, I totally get what you’re saying. But I think, when we get that, we just have to remember that it says more about them than about us – and pity them, bc they don’t know what they’re missing.

    Also, great purse, I think it rocks.

    • On September 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm Sally said:

      Oh man, I think traveling with children (even very calm children) would be SO MUCH HARDER than traveling on my own. I really only have to worry about myself and my needs. I can’t imagine having to deal with someone else and their needs (especially a small someone else who has trouble expressing his/her needs).

  4. On September 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm Priya said:

    Shut up! I was considering getting the same purse. It’s like we have the same mind. Or something like that.
    Priya recently posted..9 Reasons Why A City Girl Will Die In The Outback

    • On September 7, 2015 at 11:55 am Sally said:

      I really like it. I especially like the fact that you can wear it either across the body or on your shoulder. A few of the travel purses I looked at were only across the body types. Plus, I like the fact that it has pockets on the sides for water bottles/umbrellas/etc. My other travel purse didn’t have those so I was always trying to cram my water bottle into it which never quite worked.

    • On September 8, 2015 at 7:09 pm Jen said:

      It’s cute purse! I’m in the same boat… my trusty leather crossbody is so beat up it’s become a bit of a joke. It’s so hard to find a good crossbody (that I like) that fits me right and has a super long strap (or proper attaching hardware that lets me replace the strap). I’m currently buying many inexpensive (but nice) bags off ebay but no dice so far. I’m going with the hypothesis that I will end up spending as much as a designer bag but actually find something that works for me.

  5. On September 7, 2015 at 4:26 am zoe said:

    I’ve always wondered what goes through peoples’ minds when they do things like congratulate strangers for doing things solo. Actually, I’m half English so I wonder what goes through peoples’ minds when they talk to strangers at all, but “wow! you left the house by yourself! great job well done!” is particularly odd.
    zoe recently posted..That time my great-great uncle was an illegal immigrant and the West actually responded quite well. (Eventually.)

    • On September 7, 2015 at 11:54 am Sally said:

      I know, right? I mean, it’s really not such a big accomplishment that I managed to get out of the house… although considering my slothiness of this past weekend maybe it is…

  6. On September 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm JessieV said:

    All right. Thanks for the links which totally diverted me from work today. NOODLES! shopping! prison!! LOL. can’t wait for coffee with you. xo
    JessieV recently posted..Through the Eyes of an Educator: Poland (Krakow, Warsaw, & Auschwitz/Birkenau)

  7. On September 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm Gloria Lin said:

    I love your posts, Sally and always look forward to them! I always LOL and I mean a real LOL not one you just type.

    No, you are not a touchy crankypants! This happens to me too. For your birthday in Southern California, you can get a free trip to Catalina Island. I went alone because who wants to be that person who makes everyone take a Monday off work and pay $70 for the ferry when you’re going for free?

    So many people told me I was so brave. OMG.

    Luckily, one couple parlayed itself into free drinks for me!

  8. On September 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm Alisa said:

    Well the part about being congratulated for doing things by yourself, and mainly how some people should be congratulated for putting up with their families, made me giggle awkwardly while everyone else was quietly reading. Your posts always make me laugh.
    If I lived anywhere near you I’d totally be down for the haunted boat thing.
    I’m probably going on a haunted tour in Charleston this spring and I’m going to be terrified even though my family will be there. I don’t know how you survive haunted things without someone to hide behind/push toward the scary things so you can flee. Though I guess you could always use a stranger.
    Alisa recently posted..Photo Sunday: Chimney Rock

  9. On September 8, 2015 at 12:02 am Paula said:

    I definitely don’t think you’re a crankypants for thinking that. No one would say that to a man. And that old-timey steam engine looks like so much fun!
    Paula recently posted..Easy ways to save money when living on your own

    • On September 12, 2015 at 11:30 am Sally said:

      Doesn’t it? I did the old-timey steam engine Polar Express last year and LOVED it. Mind you, I was the only person on the train without a child. (Apparently this is not something single adults just do.) But it was still totally awesome. I kind of want to do it again this year.

  10. On September 8, 2015 at 1:50 am Ron said:

    Totally random stuff. I so love your randomness at list 3. Cell Block 7! Awesome!

  11. On September 8, 2015 at 4:52 am Claudia said:

    “Plus, I don’t go around congratulating people for doing stuff with their spouses/children/friends. And, frankly, I’ve seen some of their spouses/children/friends. Someone should probably congratulate them for hanging out with those monsters.”

    I love you more by the minute. I love your sense of humor!

    Mind you, when I lived in the US people would stop in the street and ask me if I was anorexic. So, be a bit more understanding with that 😉 hahahaha

    Watching The Good Wife is hard job. I work during lunch break!
    Claudia recently posted..SURPRISE! How I ran into my ex on the pyramid of Coba in Mexico

    • On September 12, 2015 at 11:29 am Sally said:

      Strangers would ask you if you were anorexic??? WTF??? I’m a big advocate of not assuming anything about anyone based on their outside appearance. Especially because, as a bigger girl, I’ve spent so much of my life (especially my time in Asia) hearing people voice their assumptions about my health and habits — namely that I must be sitting around eating cookies and never working out. When in fact, I eat quite healthfully and work out a lot… okay, and eat cookies… but still. No assumptions, people.

  12. On September 8, 2015 at 7:37 pm Meg said:

    Re: Congrats for Leaving The House Alone!

    I’m living in Yangzhou China right now, and mentioned to a coworker that when I first arrived, I went to the local expat bar to speak English and meet people, and she was really impressed and said multiple times that she could never go to a bar alone and wow, I really walked in by myself? It was strange because I moved to China alone. Pretty sure walking into the pub isn’t that hard!
    Meg recently posted..One of The Lesser Known Pokemon

  13. On September 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm Dannielle said:

    Sally (or Miss Crankypants),

    I long for someone to call me brave…for anything…killing a spider (okay, I haven’t actually done that but I have kept my eye on one while my dad crawled over the couch and killed it)…or reading a Stephen King novel (ummm, I actually hid the book in my hamper while I slept)…People do tell me I’m brave to plug on with Parkinson’s but I’m not…ask my therapist! I’m up for a drinking trip to Target! How’s that for brave! So, to sum up, I think you are funny, adventurous and yes, brave! Thanks for making me laugh.

    • On September 12, 2015 at 11:22 am Sally said:

      I’m calling you brave for just having a Stephen King novel in your house! There is no way I’d let a scary novel anywhere near my sleeping quarters. Helllllll no. (The same goes for scary movies and any television shows with zombies.)
      And, I’ll join you on that drinking trip to Target!

      • On September 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm Dannielle said:

        T.V. shows without zombies? Are there any? I think the new season of The Good Wife is subtitled Lawyers for the Undead!

        • On September 20, 2015 at 10:15 am Sally said:

          To be honest, I can’t watch Zombie shows (or anything remotely scary) or I’ll never sleep. I tried watching Walking Dead — I got through one episode and I really regretted it later when I was lying in bed listening to zombies crawling their way into my bedroom window (aka probably just a tree… or maybe not).

  14. On September 13, 2015 at 8:22 am Rick Steadman said:

    I took a look at your earlier post about living and working on a sailboat. Not surprisingly one of the url’s (in your blog) taking you to the website for the boat building no longer works. I’m wondering if this is the “sailboat” you worked on?: http://langkawi-gazette.com/langkawi-news/1311-naga-pelangi

    Although most of the junks have a similar look.

  15. On September 24, 2015 at 11:02 am Lucie said:

    Just FYI, mangetout are snow peas… 😉


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