Tag Archive | random stuff

Little Blue Man

If anyone happens to have old blue jeans waiting to be thrown away, let me know. I’m planning on making some kind of denim jumper. With it, I plan to single-handedly destroy the notion that denim jumpers are frumpy homeschooling-mom-wear. More likely I’ll just confirm this pervasive belief, but hey; I can try.

In other news, today I discovered that I can knit and walk at the same time if I tie my purse to my backpack. It’s a beautiful arrangement; walking home from the library after a good study session, watching the setting sun make everything pink and golden, watching people mow their parking strips and making friends with needy cats. Now I can have all this — and be knitting at the same time. What a wonderful life. People look at me funny. It doesn’t bother me, though. I know that they’re just wishing that they too, could have a coffee-colored cabled cardigan on the needles.

I was also herded by an extremely gregarious dog named Indie. I’ve never met Indie in my life. Until today when she proceeded to orbit me whilst her would-be owners discussed her reprehensible behaviour in raised voices.

Mr. Indie-owner: “We just can’t keep her, Sharol, we can’t!”

Sharol: “She’s almost trained! Just give me time!”

[Indie becomes a Sofia Satellite]

Mr. Indie-owner: “You see? You see what she’s doing? That dog is a menace to society!”

[Sofia looks back, wondering if she needs to return Indie to her proper place before Indie follows her, Sofia, home]

Sharol: “You, Girl! Go! Just go! Indie!!!”

Poor Indie. I left.

Finally, in my quest for strange old songs, I’ve found the ultimate stalker song.

What on earth could have inspired this?

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Looking for Sharps

Sofia is making poor choices in her life. I feel like it’s been a long, downward spiral. I’m behind on my math homework. Last night I stayed up late watching Taiwanese soap operas. I’m being unproductive as we speak, writing frivolous stuff like this when I ought to be researching the statistics of homelessness and studying for organic chemistry. Not good. Not good at all.

Yesterday was the same way. Instead of doing work, I decided to sew. The bodice of my creamy yellow sundress I made out of that fabric I purchased at the Japanese Cultural Center’s rummage sale was too long, so I shortened it. I could have been doing my study guide for International Relations with that time, but no. Afterwards, I needed a needle to hand-sew the finishing touches. On 3 pincushions, I found 3 darning needles, a couple of tapestries, and a crewel. Not okay. I wanted a sharp. Where are all my precious sharps? Why do I have 3 pincushions? You know, I’ve had this tomato one for a long time and I never liked it. It’s so cliche. Come on; a tomato? Everyone has a tomato pincushion. I like my Miss Meow pincushion better. I need to downsize.

Plus, there are probably needles in there.

So, I snipped it apart. I lost a pincushion, but I found 34 needles inside. Who would have ever known? It had such a cheerful outside, that red tomato pincushion. Who would have ever known there were so many dangerous and hurtful things inside, hiding behind it’s brave front? Or is that a bad analogy, since I actually like needles? Should I ruminate instead on the release of potential nobody could see from the outside? All I knew that red velveteen tomato to be was a worn out, superfluous pincushion. If I had not delved deeper, I might have tossed it without ever discovering the treasures inside.

I’m sorry. I’ll stop now.

I started this meaning to tell my latest “Strange-People-Who-Invade-My-Personal-Space-At-Bus-Stops” story. I would have thought by now that everybody would be tired of these, but since my no. 1 fan requested it yesterday, I guess not. If I can think of a moral to the story, or something else to tie it up with, I’ll tell you another time.

 

Moving on.

Make Someone’s Day

Today I knocked on somebody’s door and ran away as fast as I could. It was fun.

I think I get less and less mature as I age. I used to be such a good little girl. In kindergarten, I sat quietly with my hands in my lap, listening respectfully to my pedagogue, sternly shushing any fellow student imprudent enough to disturb my intense concentration.

How things change.

I didn’t completely ding-dong ditch the good people whose doorstep I disturbed today, though. I left them a book I thought their children would enjoy, along with an anonymous note. It’s hard to be anonymous when you are known for such hare-brained schemes and have distinctively illegible handwriting, but I figure that they’re popular enough to have other suspects besides myself.

I hardly ever think these things up on my own. The inspiration came from my dear friend Margot. She’s 82 and by far the youngest, most vibrant, and joyful person I know. When you are Margot, good things always seem to find their way to you. As for the bad things, they’re just so ridiculous, you can’t help but laugh at them (like the Russian vacuum salesman; that was hilarious). But that’s the way Margot looks at life. From a materialistic viewpoint, she really doesn’t have much going for her; she’s a low-income senior widow, living all alone with a medical condition that makes her hands tremor so that she can’t write very well, or hold a full glass of water without it spilling. Yet for all that, she never lets anything get her down. She looks for the good in life, and she finds it.

Every Christmas and Easter, sometimes Thanksgiving and other holidays, a teddy bear appears on Margot’s porch bearing a $100 gift card to the local grocery store and a mysterious letter. We have no idea who it’s from, but she’s always euphoric when it comes, almost more for the goofy bear than for the gift card.

It doesn’t take $100 to make somebody’s day. Popping a letter in the mail for a birthday, leaving mysterious presents, writing notes and leaving them in sneaky places where you know they’ll find them; it really doesn’t take much effort. Yet it makes people so happy. It makes people happy to know that someone is thinking about them; to know that somebody took 5 minutes out of their busy day to buy them a cookie or remember a promise.

It’s the thought that counts, not the pecuniary value. The thing is, making somebody else’s day is hardly the first thing on a body’s mind. But think about it sometimes. You have your own problems and issues to deal with, I know, but making somebody else’s day will make yours brighter as well.

The other day, I found out that a friend was struggling with her faith. She’s had difficulties in her life and she was getting a bit fed up with God. “What’s the point in being Christian if He doesn’t even care?” she wondered. So, today I sent her an anonymous encouragement note (yeah, I like being anonymous; I’m being noble and selfless by not taking credit for these things . . . or maybe I’m just a creeper). I hope she will realize that God does care for her. He cares for her through the people who care for her. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be wasting my time and effort and 29 cents on post card stamps.

Go make somebody’s day. It’s not hard. You’ll be glad you did it.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

How to Make Flan

You know what’s weird?

Trying to sleep in crinolines.

You know what else is weird?

Arguing with Ryan the 7th Grader about Griffith’s experiments of bacterial transformation.

Sofia: Isn't it cool, Ryan? The mouse is injected with dead pathogenic encapsulated bacteria, which can't do anything because it is dead, and non-pathogenic non-encapsulated bacteria, which can't do anything because it's non-pathogenic, but together, they're able to kill the mouse, even though they can't do anything by themselves! Isn't that cool, Ryan?!
Ryan: Um, yeah Sofia, NO, that's not cool at all!!

I guess I’m just weird that way. It’s been a weird day. Yesterday I came home from work with a temperature of 103 degrees and a throbbing headache. I’m beginning to have my doubts about the efficacy of flu shots; this is the first year I’ve ever taken one and this is the second flu I’ve contracted.

Yesterday was my official first day on the job. As in, not in orientation anymore. I had to do everything myself. I couldn’t cry to anyone and say, “I don’t know what to do!!! Help meee!!!” No Sofia, you’re on your own. Try not to let anyone die (my job is at the hospital). My plan of action is to keep bringing in homemade food until I’m competent, so that my colleagues like me. Yesterday, I brought flan, which I learned how to make from a random Filipino website I can’t remember the name of. My elder brother used to make “flan” from a Jello mix. Don’t settle for the Jello mix. It’s really easy. The hardest part is getting the hot pan out of the steamer. I use Chinese steamer tongs. I’ve switched up the recipe somewhat. Here is my take:

Leche Flan

10 egg yolks

1/2 c boiling water

1 c dry milk

1 1/3 c sugar

3 T butter

1 c milk

1 t vanilla

1 t salt

Method: To the 1/2 c of boiling water, stir in 3 T butter. Once melted, add dry milk and 2/3 c sugar. Blend it like crazy and let it sit 5 minutes to cool. In the mean time, beat the 10 egg yolks in a bowl and set aside. No, you can’t use 5 whole eggs instead. It just wouldn’t be the same. Whites=protein=tough flan. Save the whites and use them for angel food cake or something. Once the boiled water-butter-dry milk-sugar concoction is done cooling, add egg yolks. Blend well and then add the normal milk and vanilla.

By the way, if you have moral objections to the whole boiled water-butter-dry milk-sugar deal, you can replace it with a 14 oz. can of sweetened, condensed milk. I just do this because I don’t happen to buy sweetened, condensed milk, but we do happen to have boiled water, butter, dry milk, and sugar on hand.

In a small saucepan, cook together 2/3 c of sugar, 1 t salt, and 1 c water on high until mixture starts to carmelize. Continue cooking until almost-but-not-quite burnt, adding water if necessary to keep mixture liquid. Immediately pour into mold. Wait another 5 minutes for this to cool off. In the meantime, get a large pot of water boiling and figure out how you’re planning to steam this thing. My “mold” is a 8 in. cake pan that fits perfectly over the mouth of my stock pot, but if you have a steamer basket, that might work as well.

Pour flan mixture into mold over top of caramel, cover with aluminum foil, then place in steamer and steam 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

When I should be doing Micro . . .

I think about other things, most of them pointless and random.

Recently, I have discovered that headphones don’t fit very well over curlers.

“Recently” means seven seconds ago.

Whenever I’m procrastinating and it’s nighttime, I put my hair in curlers.

Whenever I put my hair in curlers, my brother laughs at me.

I embarrassed my brother today by going with him to the grocery store in my pajamas. My pajamas consist of

  • My plaid flannel nightgown; I got it at Goodwill for very cheap. It has a hole in the sleeve and eyelet lace around the collar. It reaches my ankles and I’m in love with it.
  • “Pants” (for lack of a better word) that my Chinese grandmother knit me. They’re bottle-green with orange stripes. They’re really loose at the moment, because the buttons are almost falling off, which in turn causes the pants themselves to almost fall off. The nice thing about wearing a nightgown is that it really doesn’t matter if your pants sag.
  • Yellow man socks. I knit them to give to homeless guys, but then I tried them on . . . and then I started sleeping in them . . . and then they shrunk down to my size. They’re mine now. I’m sorry, Sockless Guy. I’ll make it up to you someday.

Erik bought Jello. I bought beets and paid for them in quarters, because I’m broke. A guy I went to high school with was bagging groceries. We pretended not to see each other.

I also made a cake today. Chocolate cake with raspberry-cream cheese frosting. It has beets in it, because Joy the Baker said to, and Joy the Baker is never wrong. Plus, I’m obsessed with beets at the moment. They’re so pretty! They make my sink pretty when I rinse them! They make the water they’re boiling in pretty! They make my hands look like they’ve sustained a second-degree burn! Pretty pretty. Besides, I need the people at my new job to love me, and cake is the way that it’s going to happen. Because I’m a freak though, I reduced the sugar to half a cup of white, and half a cup of brown. I also used about 1 cup of powdered sugar in the frosting, as opposed to the 4-5 cups in the original recipe.

Come on now; 4-5 cups? I work in a hospital; they’d confiscate it at the door.

Not really; nurses seem to eat a lot of junk food. And chocolate. They’re obsessed with chocolate. It helps them deal with the stress. I never cared about chocolate before, but it’s starting to rub off on me.

I’m supposed to be doing Microbiology stuff right now. I have a sheet with questions such as:

Culture A is aerobic and contains an abundance of bacteria after 5 days of incubation. Culture B is anaerobic. It contains bacterial growth, but not as much as Culture A. It also contains detectable levels of ethanol. If Culture A and Culture B contained the same initial number of bacteria and produced the same amount of ATP in a specified time period, which culture would consume more glucose while making ATP? Explain your answer and be specific.

I should go now.

 

Germ-busters

I haven’t written in a while. I’m sorry. I should write something.

The problem is that I don’t have much to write about.

Well,

I got a job. A job, moreover, that does not include the care of children or cats. I’m no longer an unemployed college kid. I am no longer a burden to society. I’m a career girl. I’ve joined the rat race, along with all the other rats. Woo hoo. I make above minimum wage. That’s a first. It means I have to dress in work-appropriate attire, which might not include dorky homeschooler denim jumpers or sailor girl dresses. It’s only a matter of time, though. It’s always like this; every time I go to a new class or church or meet someone for the first time, I usually wear something unremarkable. Once they get used to me and can’t do without me, that’s when I break out the pioneer dresses and sun bonnets and other weird stuff.

I’m working for a non-profit. Go me, right? Except that nobody knows that it’s a non-profit, including the people who work there. It doesn’t really act like a non-profit. But it is. They try.

Right now I should really be doing Prelab 8. I’m taking Microbiology this quarter. It includes questions like,

  1. On a test plate inoculated such as a staphylococcus recently isolated from an infection, a few colonies may appear within a clear zone of inhibition. Why would these colonies be present? What would their growth indicate about the probable effectiveness of the antibiotic in controlling the infection?

It’s a tough subject, but the labs are actually pretty fun. In Lab 8 we’re going to swap E. coli genes with glowing jellyfish genes so that the E. coli will glow.

“What did you do today, Sofia?”

“Not much; got up, went to class, and transferred bioluminescent jellyfish genes to a colony of E. coli. How about you?”

I’ve been thinking about bacteria a lot lately. Microbiology is 83.6% Bacteria 101. Amoebas get a lot of hype in mainstream media, but they’re not really that important. Archaea? Psh, no one really cares about Archaea. Multi-cellular animal parasites, now; those are a little more glamorous; especially the graphic ones. But really; it’s all about bacteria. That reminds me; do you remember the old washing-hands signs?

They used to be everywhere when I was a child. At preschool, at church, in public restrooms; I miss them. I want a laminated one to tack up in my bathroom, just for nostalgia. The new versions aren’t as fun because they don’t have the little beat-up germs. I like the little beat-up germs. Why would they take them out of the new ones? I just don’t understand.

Though speaking of germ-busting, I went out with my germophobe Yao cousins today. We were all in the car, having just finished eating our Vietnamese sandwiches.

“Hey guys; do you want some Skittles?”

“Sure! We love processed food!”

Twenty minutes later,

“By the way guys, I found those at a movie theater yesterday after the movie was over. They were open already.”

“WHAT?!?”

Success.

 

Typical Conversation with Mother

Mom: Sofia, can you clean up your lunch mess? You left bacon grease in the frying pan.

Sofia: Fine.

Wait.

Where’s my grease container?! Did somebody throw away my grease?

Mom: What grease?

Sofia: The grease in the freezer! I’ve been saving it.

Mom: Oh yeah. We probably threw it away. Your father and I cleaned out the freezer the other day.

Sofia: Aaagh! I was saving that!

Mom: What for?

Sofia: To make soap out of!

Mom: ………………………………….. Our freezer is small, Sofia. We don’t really have room for bacon grease to make soap out of.

Sofia: But it’ll go to waste otherwise!

Or maybe I’ll use it to pop some popcorn later.

Mom: WHAT?! You’re going to eat it? You’ll clog your arteries!

Sofia: But I don’t want to waste it . . .

Maybe I’ll deep-condition my hair with it. People use olive oil; why not bacon grease? It’s all-natural, right?

Mom: -__-