Random Stuff List

July 24, 2016

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Oh, hello, there, friends. I know it seems like FOREVER since my last Random Stuff List. Probably because it has been FOREVER. I don’t even know how you’ve survived not knowing what I’m doing/eating/reading/watching. It’s probably been super tough for you.

But, that’s all about to be remedied because here I am back with another Random Stuff List for your reading pleasure.


1. Last weekend, I went on another training hike for my big solo backpacking trip next month. I did a six-mile hike with a full pack on in Brighton State Park, near Ann Arbor. Which was surprisingly delightful and naturey despite its close proximity to the city.

Unbrave Girl / Random Stuff List

Look! Naturey!

During my previous solo backpacking trip, the six-mile mark was exactly the time that I decided death by wild coyote attack would be preferable to walking another mile.

I’m happy to report that last weekend’s trip went much better than the previous one. I didn’t once want to die. I’d like to think this is because I’m in much better shape now thanks to all the lunges I’ve been doing at the gym. Even though I have to Google search “lunge” on my phone every time before I do them just so I can remember what to do.

It probably also had to do with the fact that the hiking trail I was on didn’t allow bikers — unlike the last two hiking trails I’ve been on. It’s amazing how much more pleasant and peaceful hiking can be when you don’t have to jump off the path and into a pile of poison ivy every two minutes in an effort to avoid being squashed by a Mountain Biker of Doom.

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Yay! I won’t be squashed!

2. Speaking of hiking and backpacking, I just bought two books on hiking and backpacking in Michigan (this one and this one). It feels a bit quaint and old-school for me to actually own real-live paper books. (I know, I know. I’m the worst former English major ever, but Kindle and Audible are my LIFE.)

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Look, children, it’s a thing called a book printed on this other thing called paper!

I’ve found these books to be a lot more helpful and detailed than the websites I had been using. Which will hopefully help me avoid death (by wild coyote or otherwise) in the long-run. Even if I don’t entirely understand all the vocabulary, like spur and topo and kilometer. (Haha, just kidding; these books are written in American, so they all use miles.)

3. Speaking of books, I just downloaded the audiobook of Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West to listen to while walking, and, OMIGOD, you guys, I’ve never laughed out loud so much while walking in public and then had to remind myself that I’m walking in public and probably shouldn’t be laughing out loud like a maniac-person.

4. Speaking of walking, I lost my Fitbit yesterday while shopping somewhere between eating a mall-pretzel and discovering that jeans with rhinestones on their butts are not for me. (How are you supposed to even sit down with all that junk on your junk, if you know what I mean?)

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Mall pretzels. Basically the only reason I go to malls.

I will probably have to stop walking all together now that I can’t count my steps because what is even the point?

I’m trying to decide if I should buy a new one. On the one hand, I love being able to compare my steps with my friends’ steps, especially when I’ve walked a billion miles and they haven’t.

On the other hand, I tend to be a lot more motivated to exercise by end goals — not daily step goals. Like, right now, I’m training for my hike next month and competing in a summer workout challenge with my coworker, and I’m totally CRUSHING it. (Sorry, coworker! But you’re going DOWN!). If I don’t have any tangible end goals, I’ll just sit on my couch binge-watching Netflix, no matter how disappointed my Fitbit is with me.

Or, instead of buying another Fitbit, maybe I should opt for something different? Like the LEAF, which is so freaking CUTE, but I will probably lose it instantly because I can’t have nice things.

5. In other not-particularly-exciting-news-of-my-life-but-I’m-going-to-tell-you-anyway, I just got back from a two-day teaching seminar. Which meant that, yes, I had to talk about work on a Saturday. And, yes, I should probably take next week off from work to recover.

But, I got recognized by someone who’d seen my presentation at TESOL earlier this year. You guys, I’m nerd-famous! And one of the presenters was tall and spoke with a cute Dutch accent and looked like Prince Harry and he actually talked to me for five seconds, so that was fun.

And, I got to discover a new-to-me town in Michigan, Big Rapids, which is neither particularly big nor rapid (in the fast-sense of the word). But it was pretty freaking adorable.

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Downtown Big Rapids. I know, seriously adorbs, right?

And as I always do when I visit adorable small towns, I wonder to myself, “What would my life be like if I lived here? Would it be exactly like an episode of Gilmore Girls or what?”

In answer to that: I suspect my life would involve a lot more pie.

Unbrave Girl / Random Stuff LIst

Actual pie shop that exists in Big Rapids

Probably I should move there.

6. Let’s talk movies, shall we? It’s been AGES since I’ve seen a movie in a cinema and I’m starting to go a bit bananas because, basically, watching movies in cinemas is my form of meditation. What can I say? Eating huge buckets of popcorn is just how I align my chakras, okay?

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Also helpful for my chakras: if the cinema sells beer.

I’m ashamed to say I have yet to see the new Ghostbusters movie. Have you seen it? Is it EVERYTHING?

Also, I’m ridiculously excited about the fact that they made The Light Between Oceans into a movie. Even though I have to wait until September to see it. That book has totally made me into a lighthouse-addict — to the point of driving a billion bumpy miles in my old lady car on a rutted, dirt road just to see one.

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Crisp Point Lighthouse. Totally worth the 10 heart attacks I had while driving there.

7. I visited Cell Block 7, Michigan’s prison museum, which is located in an actual working prison, last year. I was totally going to write a blog post about it, but then I never did because you’re not allowed to take pictures unless you get special permission beforehand, which I didn’t do. And, basically, if I can’t take pictures, I can’t write a blog post, because, WHAT, am I supposed to just remember stuff? Like from MY HEAD?

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

The only photo I took of Cell Block 7. Right before I freaked out and begged to God not to be arrested.

Luckily, Jennifer from Wading in Big Shoes, is a much better blogger than me. Not only did she write about her trip to the museum, she also got permission to take photos, so you should check out her post.

8. What are you eating right now?

I’ve got some zucchinis in my fridge that have this fritter recipe written all over them.

And I just made these coconut pancakes for breakfast, which made sitting in my ninety-degree kitchen feel more like a tropical beach vacay than torture.

Random Stuff List / Unbrave Girl

Trader Joe’s toasted coconut pancake mix. Making my morning a bit more tropical.

9. To be filed under “There’s Hope for Me Yet”: How one girl got married to the book-nerd of her dreams thanks to Twitter.

Excuse me while I go dust off my Twitter account.

10. And in case you like hot guys and/or cats.

You’re welcome.

Okay your turn! What have you been doing/eating/reading/watching?

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means I can earn a small commission for purchases made at no extra cost to you. Which means more Trader Joe’s pancake mix for me! Yay!


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

  1. On July 24, 2016 at 6:21 pm Rebecca said:

    I saw Ghostbusters, and considered it – just barely – worth the $9.50 Las Vegas matinee ticket. All the hype is true, Kate McKinnon has the best parts in the movie. But whoa, Chris Hemsworth is totally worth paying to look at. Stay through the credits to watch him dance.

    Unusually, I believe the rumored sequel may actually be significantly better than this one. All of the characters are great, they deserve a better script. I hope they get one.

    Oh, and if you want to try a little something different with the zucchini, try chopping it up with some tomatoes and splashing it liberally with sesame oil. Add chicken and, for beautiful color contrast, yellow squash. Salt/pepper, natch. It can be eaten alone (I just did.), or over rice or noodles. Very versatile, and tasty.

    Our 99 cents store has big bags of zucchini and yellow squash, several tomatoes in a plastic container, each for a dollar, so I’m eating this all the time now. I love it. But I am making a small rice pot full of brown rice, just to make it a bit more filling, bc it’s my main meal when I have it.

    And it’s even better after the first day, when everything gets to sit in the sesame oil juices for a while. Sesamel is my favorite food flavoring. Seeds, oil, whatever.

    Except for desserts, of course. I wish someone would invent a sugar neutralizer, so I could eat all the exquisite sweet concoctions without worrying about my weight or my blood sugar. sigh.

    Looking forward to hearing about your hike. Still in awe of your backpacking prowess.
    Rebecca recently posted..On the Road Again

    • On July 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm Sally said:

      Isn’t sesame the best? I could literally put sesame seeds and/or oil on EVERYTHING. And thanks for the recipe suggestion… I am low on groceries at the moment, so whatever I make is just going to be zucchini and only zucchini. Sadly, my 99 cents store doesn’t have quite the same bounty as yours!

  2. On July 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm Paula said:

    I haven’t seen Ghostbusters yet, but I really want to! I’ll probably have to wait until after inventory next week to do so though. And coconut pancakes sound really good!
    Paula recently posted..How to stay active when working a desk job

  3. On July 25, 2016 at 3:01 pm Priya said:

    I don’t think jeans with rhinestones on their butts are for anyone unless you’re 15-years-old. I’ve been thinking about getting a Fitbit but I have a feeling that I’ll lose it quickly.

    And coconut pancakes? Yes, please!
    Priya recently posted..That Time I Went On A Date

    • On July 31, 2016 at 11:20 am Sally said:

      I’m kind of impressed I kept mine with me for so long. I had the Flex wristband and the closure thingie is not secure at all. It gets caught on things easily and can fall off (as it did with me when I was shopping). I think if I buy a new one, I’ll look into other designs to see if they stay on better.

  4. On July 25, 2016 at 7:31 pm Jen said:

    Instead of a fitbit depending on what type of phone you have they often can use the gyroscope(?) tech to track steps. I have a galaxy note 4 and it tracks steps – even came with a nagging “how about you get up move” notification program which I had to remove because cursing at my phone to leave me alone while I’m writing seemed to be laying the basis for a future mental health claim. 🙂

    • On July 31, 2016 at 11:13 am Sally said:

      I’ve thought about that because there are a lot of apps you can download to your phone that count steps, but the thing is I don’t take my phone everywhere. For example, I walk up and down the hall at work at least 5 billion times everyday and walk around my classroom… and it would be weird for me to carry my phone for all of that but I don’t want to miss those steps! But I do like the idea of my phone pestering me to get moving. That sounds helpful… and annoying!

  5. On July 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm Amy said:

    Hey, Sally. I just got back from hiking in the Dakotas with (my now ex-) boyfriend. But I packed plenty of books because there’s not a lot of wi-fi up there, and I finished several. Before the Fall was really good. I read two by Lisa Genova (Still Alice) – Left Neglected and Love Anthony. I’ve read all her books and liked them all except Love Anthony. Good luck with your hike. None of my hikes are overnight hikes, so I’m afraid I don’t have any magical advice to add. Did you end up reading Yes, Please by Amy Schumer? I enjoy your blog! You make me laugh.

    • On July 31, 2016 at 11:12 am Sally said:

      Umm, so I’m intrigued by the first line of your comment… about hiking with your NOW ex-boyfriend. So did the break-up happen before, during or after the hiking… and did the hiking have anything to do with it? I know this is none of my business but I AM NOSEY AND WANT TO KNOW.
      And, yes, I did read “Yes, Please,” which is by Amy Poehler not Schumer… honest mistake. But Amy Schumer does have a book coming out in August which I’ve already pre-ordered and I CANNOT EVEN WAIT.

      • On August 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm Amy said:

        The breakup happened after the trip, but the hiking itself had really nothing to do with it. I don’t know how you’d break up over hiking. Unless a bear or mountain lion attacked and the other person threw you in front of themselves and ran or something. LOL the mixing up of Amy Schumer and Amy Pohler. I’m becoming my mother. I think you’re a few years behind me, but wait, it’s coming. 🙂 Although I did go to a book club this weekend and the organizer was talking about BossyPants by Tina Poehler, and she was in her twenties, so maybe I’m not so bad after all!

  6. On July 31, 2016 at 12:36 pm Dominique King said:

    Ah…this post reminded me that I finally visited Crisp Point Lighthouse since I commented on your previous post about Crisp Point. You’re not kidding about the ride out there, but we managed to make it on one piece and, yes, I climbed the tower. Reminds me I’ve yet to write about that trip, though…
    This list of your also reminds me that I have yet to go to the Cell Block 7 Museum in Jackson (we’d arrange the trip and actually had permission to take photos to go with at least one of the blog posts I planned to do about the trip…but Tim’s illness kicked in right before our planned departure, and I haven’t gotten back to being able to re-book the trip…hoping for later in the winter or spring). Meanwhile, I just started reading Issac’s Storm by Erik Larson (about a humdinger of a storm and flood that hit Galveston during 1900) Not sure if that’s a good idea given the brutal heat here lately and occasional threat of thunderstorms…but it may be time to live large as we’ve been stuck here in the house since mid-March outside of lovely visits to Club Beaumont (hospital).
    Dominique King recently posted..Gear up for Green Week August 6 through 13 at Ohio’s Put-in-Bay and Lake Erie Islands

    • On August 8, 2016 at 8:44 am Sally said:

      I think I started to read Issac’s Storm but stopped. I was a HUGE fan of Devil in the White City. But I think I wasn’t so into Issac’s Storm because all the danger was weather related and not psychopath related… for some reason it wasn’t as interesting to me. But I’m a pretty fickle reader, I guess!


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