Random Stuff List

January 17, 2016


Happy Sunday-that-feels-like-Saturday-because-LONG-WEEKEND-WHEEEEEEE!

I usually spend Sunday doing responsible things like cleaning my house and doing laundry so I actually have pants to wear to work and making a big huge dinner that I can eat as leftovers for the rest of the week, but I’m thinking this Sunday is made for eating chocolate for lunch and watching cheesy movies. Care to join me? Let’s do it.

1. This was my first week back to work after winter break. I always love the first week of classes because everyone’s cheerful and smiling and always on their bestest of behaviors.

Even me.

Last semester ended on kind of a low note for me. I was teaching overload for the third semester in a row and attempting to develop a new class at the same time. I had a handful of students who gave up entirely about halfway through the semester for one reason or another, and would show up in class and not do a lick of work and distract the other students and generally drive me bonkers. To top it off, I wasn’t getting much sleep thanks to my Irish step-dancing upstairs neighbor. So, basically, I spent the end of last semester being scowly and stompy and spending way too much time focusing on the students who were driving me crazy and not enough time focusing on the students who were doing awesome. And I had some seriously awesome students last semester.

But the good thing with teaching is that you get to start over every semester. It’s like having New Year’s Day a couple times a year. So this semester I’m determined to keep up my beginning-of-the-semester positivity throughout the semester even after the new class smell has started to fade.

2. This was also my first week tackling my new commute. My new place is about two miles away from work, which is still totally within reasonable walking distance. But those two miles didn’t seem quite so reasonable on Monday morning, when it was dark and freezing and, well, MONDAY. I arrived at work exhausted and with a head of frozen hair. No fun.


Luckily, I found a ride to work in the mornings, so now I just have the walk home from work in the evenings, which is my favorite. It’s the perfect way to get some exercise (while avoiding the gym!) and decompress at the end of the day. Plus, it gives me a chance to discover places in my new neighborhood that I probably wouldn’t discover if I were driving — like the corner store I stopped in to buy milk and where they sell everything from glittery tube tops to sausage to grain alcohol.

3. Another thing I’m attempting to do this semester: spend an hour every afternoon writing.

But, instead of writing at home, which is full of too many distractions like purry kitties and Netflix and the living room closet which needs to be ORGANIZED RIGHT NOW BEFORE I CAN DO ANY WORK AT ALL, I’ve taken up writing in the library of the local private college, near the university where I work. It’s perfect because it’s quiet, I can’t get on the wifi and I don’t know anybody there. Oh, and there’s a fancy coffee shop in the lobby. It’s basically like my very own writing retreat complete with tea lattes. I love it.


4. Unfortunately, my resolution to blog more hasn’t quite kicked in yet. Probably because the only time I have to blog is at night when my brain is like, “WHAT? YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT RIGHT NOW? BUT I DON’T WAAAANNNNT TO!”

So, yeah, maybe this week I’ll start working on some of those blog series I told you I was going to start working on last week?

Just as soon as I convince my brain that’s a good thing to do.

(Uh, does anyone have any suggestions on how to make your brain do things it does not want to do? Or maybe suggestions on how to make blog posts suddenly appear out of thin air? Because that would be awesome.)

5. Are we watching the new season of Downton Abbey? I can’t believe it’s the last season. I’m already going through withdrawal. I mean, what am I going to watch when I feel in the mood for people speaking in posh, British accents? Seriously, WHAT AM I GOING TO WATCH? Send your suggestions for fancy-pants period dramas right now!

Also, related: The Downton Abbey personality quiz. It told me I’m Lady Edith. Uggh. The worst part is I suspect it’s right.

6. Speaking of people speaking in posh, British accents, I can’t get enough of Adele’s carpool karaoke with James Corden. I love them both SO MUCH.

7. What are we making for dinner this week? I bought a new slow cooker last week and I’m already in love with it. (It’s magic, you guys! I come home to a fully cooked meal, and I barely did a thing! Also, bonus: I only have to wash one pot. Basically it’s answered every single one of my dreams.)



So I’m thinking this slow cooker pumpkin, chick pea and lentil curry is in order.

Have any other slow cooker recipes I should try?

8. As a chronic procrastinator, I found this article on the creative benefits of procrastination validating. Apparently, I’m not lazy. I’m just a “divergent thinker”. (And, well, lazy.)

9. I could so relate to this essay on what it’s like to be an unremarkable child. Especially this:

“I wanted to be the star of the soccer team, the lead in the school play, the top of my class, the heartthrob of my grade. Instead, I sat on the bench, high kicked in the chorus line, scraped by with B’s and C’s, and was labeled “average at best” in the looks department.”

As someone who was cast in the role of “marching peasant” in every high school musical, including a few musicals you wouldn’t think would even have peasants, like Oklahoma, that just spoke to my soul.

10. Ummm, we’ve all subscribed to the Instagram account Hot Dudes with Kittens, right?


How was your week? Have any posh British drama suggestions, slow cooker recipes or Instagram accounts full of cute dudes and cats to recommend? Let me have them!


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

  1. On January 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm Rebecca said:

    I love your writing retreat, and I need one so badly. Yesterday, I *chose* to housework, which I loathe, instead of writing. Until I told myself that maybe I should consider what it would be like to do housework for a living if I’m going to do it instead of my work.

    I think you’ve found the perfect solution: lovely surroundings, no wifi and tea. The only problem for me is that I need wifi to research the things I write about. Plus, I have all the distractions on my phone, anyway. So I need to figure out something else. sigh.

    Also, I absolutely ADORE slow cookers. For this time of year, I would love a beef stew with fresh baby carrots, corn and peas. You can get the cheapest stew meat at the grocery and that crock pot will have it nice and tender. The secrets to an amazing beef stew is adding a little wine and a pack of McCormicks beef stew seasoning…which, unfortunately, has become more difficult to find since they started adding so many new ones. But even without it, this stuff is a hearty winter meal. Just add rice. Do you have a rice pot? Another fabulous invention, great for steaming veggies, as well as rice.

    • On January 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm Sally said:

      I run into that problem when I’m writing a blog post. I usually need the internet — for WordPress or to “research.” Hence, the reason why I only post like one blog post a week — too distracted by all the other fun things on the Internet.
      And your beef stew idea sounds amazing! Just the perfect thing for all this cold, snowy weather we’ve been having!

  2. On January 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm kathi said:

    check out Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s like Downton Abbey meets Murder She Wrote, only different. And better! You will love the heroine Phryne Fisher, she is decadently delicious! It’s set in 1920s Australia, so the accents, the clothes! Plus she is quite ahead of her time, from her sexual behavior to her ass kicking prowess. It’s available on your beloved Netflix. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this show.

  3. On January 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm Priya said:

    Your evening commute sounds like a great way to get some frozen selfies. 🙂
    Priya recently posted..Confession: It’s Really Hard To Get Out Of Bed When No One Is Paying You

  4. On January 18, 2016 at 1:03 am Melanie said:

    Have you seen the new BBC Poldark? It’s pretty fantastic!

  5. On January 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm JessieV said:

    I love the Phryne Fisher books – they are so much fun! I didn’t know they were filmed. Also: I LOVE CROCKPOTS. yep.

  6. On January 18, 2016 at 7:13 pm Leslie in Oregon said:

    That photograph of you in the cold frozen is gorgeous!!
    I share a strong tendency to procrastinate so I’m going to stop this message here and get to work!

    • On January 19, 2016 at 7:05 pm Sally said:

      Well, if you read the procrastination article, it explains that procrastination is actually a good thing — it leads to creativity… eventually when you actually do something, that is.

  7. On January 19, 2016 at 9:05 am Claudia said:

    Hot dudes with kittens: YOU BET. Oh my. I mean. HOT. DUDES. WITH KITTENS. Can’t get better than that.

    Do you seriously watch Downtown Abbey. I get my fix of that even on the plane. Like on a 10 hours flight, I pretty much watch one entire series. Addicted. And worried for withdrawal syndrome too. Oh, I am Mary BTW!

    What is a tea latte?

    • On January 19, 2016 at 7:05 pm Sally said:

      I LOVE my Downton Abbey. In fact, I go through Downton Abbey withdrawal between episodes of Downton Abbey. This weekend, I watched “Gosford Park” because I was in need of something posh. It’s pathetic.
      As for a tea latte, it’s just like a regular latte, but instead of using espresso it uses tea.

      • On January 20, 2016 at 3:50 am Claudia said:

        Oh. That is why it is confusing. In Italian “latte” means milk. If you happen to order a latte in any coffee shop in Italy, you’ll be given a big glass of slightly frothy milk. If you want the American version of a latte, you need to ask for caffellatte (milk with coffee) – which is not the same as espresso macchiato, btw 😉

        A tea latte? Simply doesn’t exist here. I’d say thankfully 😉
        Claudia recently posted..An overview of Rome attractions

  8. On January 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm Hillary Weiss said:

    Hey Sally! Thanks so much for sharing my article, and I LOVED this list! #crockpotlife


  9. On January 23, 2016 at 3:45 am Choi Kum Fook said:

    The photo you have taken with cold frozen hair was gorgeous!At the same time there have massive snow storm occurring in the state of New York and the places nearby. Did it effected in your hometown Buffalo? Miss Sally, take care of it! I do not when have the opportunity to come across a winter season in cold climate country. Ha! Ha!


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