Tag Archive | lists

Tips for Being a Better Know-it-all

I’m a know-it-all.

Did you know that?

You probably did. But I thought I’d tell you again anyway, because

I’m a know-it-all.

Know-it-alls like to inform people of things. I am informing you of this as we speak.

(I always feel a little odd typing “as we speak.” We’re not speaking. I’m typing and you’re reading. Could I say “as we type”? But only I am typing. You’re not typing. You’re reading. If you have a good solution for me, you’ll let the know-it-all know, won’t you?)

As long as I’m in a worldly-wise, know-it-all-y mood, let me tell you worldly-wise, know-it-all-y things about what know-it-alls should know about being know-it-alls.

I’m getting really tired of typing that word.

Sofia’s Know-It-All-y Tips for Being a Better Know-It-All

1. This is the most important one, and pretty much forms the basis for the rest of them: let people save face. If there’s one thing everybody hates, it’s being embarrassed. Shame hurts. If you’re going to say something know-it-all-y, make sure that it won’t embarrass the person you’re speaking to. That’s what’s bad about being a know-it-all. There’s nothing wrong with being knowledgeable; it’s when you make others feel stupid that it becomes a problem.

2. To that end, don’t tell somebody that they’re wrong, just because they’re wrong. Do you want to make them feel foolish? Only tell somebody that they are wrong if it will help in some way.

Wrong time to tell someone that they’re wrong:

Person 1: My grandfather is a Civil War veteran.

Know-it-all: That is incorrect. The Civil War was fought in the 1860s, well over 100 years ago, and all Civil War veterans are now deceased. Your grandfather is more likely a Korean or Vietnam War veteran.

Outcome: Person 1 now feels stupid and it’s the Know-it-all’s fault. Nothing has been achieved by this.

Right time to tell someone that they’re wrong:

Person 1: I am glad that they have oatmeal cookies here, which are made of oats, because I’ll die if I consume wheat flour, but I can eat these.

Know-it-all: Are you sure they have no wheat flour? Let’s look at the ingredients list, just to make sure.

Outcome: Person 1’s life has been saved.

3. When at all possible, let people discover things for themselves. It makes them feel smarter than if you just told them. As in the example above, Know-it-all could have said, “No, that is incorrect. Oatmeal cookies contain wheat flour.” He would have just invalidated the statement of Person 1, making Person 1 feel stupid. However, by appearing unsure himself, Know-it-all allows Person 1 to figure it out for himself.

4. When issuing blame, try to use “we” instead of “you.” When we’re to blame, it doesn’t feel quite so bad as when you’re to blame. The blameable person can probably figure out for himself that he’s to blame, and if so, he might even admit it. It’s easier to admit blame if nobody is accusing you specifically. When someone accuses you specifically, it’s second-nature to defend yourself, even if you know, in your heart of hearts, that it might really be your fault.


Randy: You forgot the mayonnaise. Our picnic is ruined forever. How could you?

Mandy: I did not! You should have been in charge of that. I was busy with other condiments.

Outcome: Randy and Mandy are upset and the picnic is ruined forever.


Sandy: Oh dear; it looks like we forgot the mayonnaise. What should we do?

Brandy: Oh, sorry; I should have checked. I will set out in search of mayonnaise.

Outcome: Sandy gets to lie on a blanket in the sun while Brandy sojourns in quest of mayonnaise. The picnic is delayed but by no means cancelled. Nobody is upset.

I hope you have enjoyed Sofia’s Know-It-All-y Tips for Being a Better Know-It-All. I have to go and study for finals now. Goodbye until next time.


I’m back!

Is anybody still listening?

What, just because I stop writing for a month or two, you don’t check it every day anymore?

What? You never checked it every day anyway?

WhatEVER. Fine. Be that way. I don’t need you.

But since you’re here and haven’t left off reading yet, let me tell you what I do when I procrastinate.

What I Do When I Procrastinate

Sometimes I obsessively clean my room.

Sometimes I do weird little school things that really don’t need to be done. Like cleaning out my almost-empty binder.

Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom, put body butter on top of the warm dehumidifier, and watch it melt.

(It’s not actually body butter; it’s coconut fat that I use as body butter. I was given body butter by my grandmother one year. I decided I didn’t like it, so I scooped it out and re-used the jar for coconut fat because I read somewhere or other that coconut fat is good for your skin. That’s just how I roll.)

Tonight, however, I decided to spend four hours of my life I could have used to study microbiology to make a wallet.

It’s monogrammed.


Cross stitch really isn’t my forte. I don’t do it very often (okay, so this is the second time). It’s tedious. I’m afraid I’ll wear my eyes out and have to get glasses. But it does look nice, doesn’t it?

Cross stitch:

a stitch in which pairs of diagonal stitches of the same length cross each other in the middle to form an X .

A. Regular old cross stitch. B. Some weird, fancy kind of cross stitch. Ignore B.


So basically, you use the holes in between the weave and the weft of the fabric to make little crosses. But what if your fabric doesn’t have nice big holes?

Then you do this:

Use a piece of canvas on top of whatever material you want to decorate. Don't worry; the final product won't look like that. We'll get it out at the end. I promise.


Unless you split a thread while you’re working it. That’s not good. Don’t split threads.

Then, work in your design . . .

Incidentally, an old-school cross stitchress (yes, I made that up) would probably be horrified at the way I do it. She’d tear my hair out of my scalp, thread her needle with it, and use it to show my how it’s done properly.

Fortunately for me, I don’t believe any old-school cross stitchresses read this blog.

The back. Note the extreme messiness. "The back should be just as beautiful as the front." That's what the old school says.

You know what, though? Cut me some slack! I had to learn how to do all these old-fashioned girly things all by my lonesome self. Just me and Back to Basics. Oh, Back to Basics. How I loved that book. It was my all-time favorite book as a child. I’d have my father read it to me as bedtime story. Back to Basics has instructions on how to do everything the old-fashioned way. I highly recommend it.

Back to Basics doesn’t have cross stitching, though. They probably thought it wasn’t utilitarian enough.

Anyhow, when you’re done with your pattern, you have to get rid of the canvas. How do you do that?

Very carefully.


What you want to do is pull the canvas apart, unraveling thread by thread until it’s history. I’m not going to lie. I used my teeth. I know, I know; “teeth are jewels, not tools.”

But it worked.

Ta da!


I hope you appreciate this, DB.


Golden Advice for Single Ladies

I’m getting a lot of hits from people looking for “dork skirts.” How very flattering.

Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been doing clinicals for my nurse’s aide class at a local nursing home. Other than hands-on, real-life peri-care (quite an experience for the uninitiated), I’ve gleaned a lot of golden advice from the elderly, plus a few of my fellow nurse’s aides. Don’t disparage Grandma’s love advice; ’cause she’s been there and done that. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Don’t date pot-bellied men.

A golden piece of advice from a saucy lady named Johnni who isn’t afraid of speaking her mind. “Honey,” she told me sagely whilst I was attempting to pull her up higher in bed,  “doan’ you even look at a pot-bellied man. Doan’ give ‘im a chance! He just goana git himself comfurble an’ eat a whole lot more an’ guzzle beer. Jus’ doan’ do it!”

2. Even if there are cute boys on the loose, watch where you’re going.

“Hoo-ee! It was 1972 an’ I was runnin’ aroun’ Downtown Seattle when I saw me my first South American man. His shiny black hair went clear down his back an’ he was jus’ so darn cute, I went and walked myself into a tellyphone pole! But at least he stopped an’ made sure I was okay.” ~Johnni

3. If you want to pick up a date, and you don’t care about physical appearances, go work in a nursing home.

I don’t care what you look like. Older men will appreciate your inner beauty. Just trust me on this one.

4. If you want the income and prestige of a doctor without going to school for ten years, marry one.

It’s simpler. It may not be easier, but it’s definitely simpler.

5. Wait until you get married.

It gives him some incentive to, you know, actually marry you.

6. Be nice to strangers. One of them might be Mr. Right.

I asked a lady how she’d met her husband. “Well,” she said, rubbing her grizzled chin, “He was a butter salesman. I was with my land-lady buying groceries when I met him. When we were walking out the door, I said to my land-lady,’You know, I think I’ll marry him.’ She said, ‘Oh, you’re crazy!’ Six months later, we were married.

Random stuff

1. Somebody searched “спорт дети клипарты” and got me.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

So I Google Translated it. This is what it came up with:

Sports clip art kids

I still don’t get it.

2. I learned today that the term “sideburns” is actually a distortion of Civil War General Ambrose Burnside’s name.

I wonder why.

If you’re wondering why I decided to research sideburns in my spare time, know that my sideburns (are they still called sideburns on a lady?) don’t seem to grow as long as the rest of my hair, and I was wondering why. It annoyed me, because they kept falling out of my bun.

3. I wore my hair in a bun all day today. I also wore a khaki skirt, a button-down, collared shirt, and sweater vest. If I’d had horn-rimmed glasses and bright red lipstick, the spinster librarian/secretary look would have been complete. Unfortunately for the spinster librarian/secretary look,

a) I don’t need glasses. 20/20, suckers!!

b) lipstick is against my moral code.

I guess I’ll have to abandon the spinster librarian/secretary look.

If more people read this blog, I probably wouldn’t have said that. I’d be afraid that a mob of spinster librarians and secretaries would swoop down upon the comment section and lambast me for my petty ignorance concerning their kind.

4. I just spent about half an hour listening to different people sing  “Ave Maria” on Youtube while knitting fingers (on a glove, not just fingers). I think my favorite was this French kid named Romeo. Despite the drawbacks of its having been the 1970s (read: swirling tie-dye background), he maintains his dignity and pulls it off really well! At least, I thought so. You can be the judge:


5. Took a quiz in class today. I got done first, as usual. I’m always the first done, because I’m just amazing at taking tests like that.

Then I got it back and discovered that I’d missed the last page.

Pride cometh before the fall. My heart is broken. Lacerated. Torn asunder. Don’t talk to me. Go ‘way.

I still want my 4.0. I must get my 4.0. If I have to give a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation including hand-outs and a “hands-on activity,” that’s what’s going to happen.

6. It is past midnight. My brother Erik just awoke from his afternoon nap. Now he wants to play on the computer. I believe what’s going to happen now is that he’s going to spend the night on the computer, then go to class in the afternoon, then go to bed after school. Then tomorrow, he’ll wake up at midnight again . . .

I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

See ya.



Sofia’s Pumpkin Bread

Today was a really boring day. I had absolutely nothing to do. What does Sofia do when she’s bored and lonely?

1) Watches obscure videos on Youtube.

2) Feels guilty for sitting on the computer for so long.

3) Wonders why it’s called “sitting on the computer.” One never sits on the TV or the radio. Is this just a Sofia thing, or does everyone say “sit on the computer?” Now I’m worried that it’s just a weird Sofia thing and that nobody else actually says that. But they do! Don’t they?

4) Tries not to think about it anymore.

5) Goes out. Doesn’t matter where or what. Sofia will find a reason to go out. Today, I decided that I needed to go to Chinatown to buy coconut milk and rice flour. Had to. We were in dire need, you see. However, the bus was warm, and Chinatown was not, so I decided to wander the city on random buses. Then I ran into my Yao cousins Joseph and Joshua. Then, I followed them halfway home like a creeper. But it’s all good, because on the way Joseph happened to mention that he had, presumably for his own amusement, snuck up to his neighbor’s house and taken a photo of his living room through the window. Would I like to see it? It’s on his phone!

. . .

Therefore, Yao-cousin Joseph is more of a creeper than I am, and cannot complain about my following him halfway home.

After chatting with the Yao cousins, I spontaneously decided that it was a beautiful day for a lonely, contemplative walk in the graveyard. So I got off my bus and walked to the graveyard. Then I realized that it was sundown: closing time. Rats. And yes, I hang around the graveyard enough to know when closing time is. It’s not just me; my friends come along sometimes. It’s peaceful. And pretty. And fun to look at the names and dates. Fortunately, there is a bus stop right next to the graveyard, and I was off again within ten minutes. Unfortunately, we didn’t get anywhere very fast. The good people at Occupy Seattle decided that the self-same moment that the No. 10 bus came into view was the perfect time to become Occupy-the-Entire-Street Seattle. The No. 10 bus was not a happy bus.

“Yo Bus Driver! Can you open the door so that I can $#*&^% tell them to clear the street?” asked one of my fellow sufferers.

“Ya know, I don’t think that’ll help anythang.” said Bus Driver, blandly.

Sofia did go to Chinatown. Sofia did get coconut milk. Sofia did get glutinous rice flour. Mission accomplished.

6) Goes home and has Facebook-chat-shouting matches with Ryan the 7th Grader:

Sofia: You went to Shoofly Pie? Wait; the one in West Seattle?

RT7G: yea obv sofia

Sofia: I can walk there from my house!

RT7G: where do u live idk where shoofly pie is though

Sofia: uhh . . . WEST SEATTLE, you dork!!!

RT7G: wow i meant where in west seattle you DORK!

I’m such a good influence on these impressionable young people.

7) Makes food. Not necessarily eats food, but makes it. Today I made potato-onion bread, curried pumpkin soup, butter mochi (hence the glutinous rice flour and coconut milk), and a kale smoothie. Yes, I said a kale smoothie. It was green. And delicious.

Therefore, I’ll give you a recipe for pumpkin bread. That makes perfect sense, no?

Sofia’s Pumpkin Bread


2 c Pumpkin puree*

4 eggs

1/2 c oil

1/2 c apple sauce**

2/3 c+1/2c water

1 c brown sugar

1 c white sugar

2 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

1/2 t clove

1/4 t ginger

1/2 c honey


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (YES! Spelled it right the first time). Grease and flour 3 7×3 in. loaf pans. If you don’t have 7×3 loaf pans, do not despair. Just use whatever loaf pan you have that will fit it. This recipe is really not fussy.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, 2/3 c water, and sugars until well blended. In a different bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt, and spices. Stir into pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pans and bake 50 minutes or until the proverbial toothpick comes out clean. Whatever. I don’t really have toothpicks lying around my house. We use floss. For teeth, I mean. For poking baked goods to ensure their doneness, I use an uncooked spaghetti noodle. If you use different sizes of loaf pans (I made a big one and two mini-loaves), they will be done at different times.

Let cool on a wire rack or somewhere like that. When cool, mix together 1/2 c water with 1/2 c honey. Pour over top of loaves. This is my great cake-making secret; it’ll keep them from drying out. However, if you don’t want to profit from Sofia’s wisdom, don’t. They’ll still be fine.

* I make my own pumpkin puree. It’s super-easy. Take a pumpkin (or squash, same diff), chop it open, scoop out the innards, and stick it in the microwave with a couple spoonfuls of water. When the flesh is mushy, scoop it out and pulverize it. Super-easy.

**If you don’t have apple sauce, that’s fine. Just use a full cup of oil.

A few things

1. I wrote “Use it or lose it!” in my homework today. It was asking what the benefit was of encouraging seniors to exercise. I wonder what teachers think of that kind of smart-alecky response. I tend to do that sometimes.

2. I finally, finally, finally, wrote my fan letter to Don Rosa. I wonder what he’ll think of me.

3. I skipped church today for no good reason. I should feel ashamed of myself.

4. After rummaging in a milk crate full of electronic gadgets and cords, I finally (finally!!!) found a cord for my *radio-cassette player! YES!!!

Before the cord: Sofia rats around the house, robbing various electronics of their AA batteries every few hours when the radio stops working.

After the cord: Sofia unplugs her phone because there is only one power outlet that is not covered various articles of furniture. The other outlet is shared by Sofia’s sewing machine and space heater.

I feel that this is a vast improvement. I don’t know; I could put my radio-cassette player under my pillow with my reading lamp, hymnal, and Bible. That way, I could thread the cord to the power outlet behind my bed through the decorative hole in my headboard, thus creating space for my telephone in the other one.

It’s starting to get a little cramped under that pillow.

5. I lost sleep last night by listening to seriously creepy radio shows on KIXI AM 8.80, Seattle’s retro radio station. There was one about a house on the beach that seemed alive. The owners would come back, and there would be food on the table and a fire in the grate. Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad, right? But the beds looked slept in, and the doors would open or lock as they pleased. The clock wound itself and the boat would come in and moor itself on the dock; and there was never anybody there! Freaked me out. I love the old radio shows; I love The Whistler, My Favorite Husband, Jack Benny, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Inner Sanctum Mysteries; I love them all; but maybe Crime Time Radio shouldn’t be on Saturdays at midnight.

*For those of you who don’t know: a radio-cassette player is what people used in olden times when they didn’t have iPods. Not only could you listen to whatever was on the radio, but you could play **cassettes in it as well!

**A cassette is what they had before CDs. It has a roll of tape inside, on which information is recorded, and as the wheels turn, the cassette player reads it. It pretty much looks like a miniature ***VHS.

*** A VHS is what movies were recorded on before DVDs. You can rewind and fast-forward a lot easier on VHSes than on DVDs, and skip the advertisements in the beginning; but don’t pay any attention to me; I’m just biased in their favor because they’re obsolete. I like ****obsolete things. I don’t know why.

****If I like you, please DO NOT think that I consider you obsolete!!!