Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 2

I forgot that when the bell rings, children spill out of classrooms like a flash flood. Overwhelming and destroying everything in it's path. Somehow, my kids find me clinging to my classroom door for dear life, trying not to get swept up into the cesspool known as "the yard."

Picked up my "Staff" t-shirts for work at least. One for every day of the week. Woohoo! Laundry will be easy peasy. (As this is a non-profit organization, I do not think this is a wise use of community money. Also, they did not order enough Small/Mediums. As usual)

Sometimes, when I talk to the girls at school, their conversations make my Inner Feminist and Adult Me cringe in horror.

Kid: "Ms. Mingle, I want to work at Disneyland and be Esmerelda or Princess Jasmine."
Me Internal Dialogue: Uh....That doesn't sound like a stable career at all. And little kids like to grope. 
Me Aloud: "Ohhh.....uh.....Cool! A lot of people like Disneyland. You should be Esmerelda because I like her." She also wears more clothes. "You can take theater class in school to get ready for that kind of job."
Kid: "I practice a lot. I try to smile at people a lot, even if I don't know them."
Me: "..........Please don't smile at strange people outside the school."

I get so tired hearing little girls tell me how much they like Princess such-and-such and how they want to be just like this model or actress from their teenybopper magazines. Pretty Olympic athletes do not get enough adolescent adoration. Ladies! News flash! You can be pretty and be totally badass buff AND smart!

Anyway. I've settled on my classes for the next ten weeks. It will be volleyball and a video game themed arts and crafts. Tomorrow will be my last day at the old job. I will be staying on at this particular community center to volunteer because I like the residents and staff a lot. I'll be able to save money NOT buying a monthly bus pass from now on. Although public transit is cheaper than the cost of driving/owning a car, I'm already paying for insurance, I don't need a lot of gas to go to/from work, and waiting for the bus in a residential neighborhood (as opposed to the financial district) when it's dark and cold and rainy in the winter time isn't as fun (sorry, environment).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New-Old Job, Day 1

I seem to be at an impasse with my secondaries. It's one of those questions where they ask you about experiences that you've already explained in your personal statement or work/activities section on the AMCAS. Currently, I'm trying to think of something else to say. My progress through these is pretty erratic. Some days I will write a lot. Other days, I type and delete things over and over again. Still other days, I'll re-read something that I wrote 1-2 days ago and completely redo it.

I also need a massage. Backpacks are bad. How the hell did I manage to wear a backpack with heavy textbooks as a kid?! I have the worst knots all along my neck, upper and lower back. I tried to tough it out but I think I need someone to help me with it.

This is my final week at my old job.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Woot woot. I glanced briefly at my personal e-mail today and noticed that my AMCAS application has passed the transcript-verification stage. I was pleasantly surprised, as I wasn't expecting this to happen until the end of the week. Over the course of the morning, my e-mail was flooded with secondary application invites or "Please hold while we determine your level of suck-titude" messages. It's a weird feeling, this simultaneous "YAY!!!" and "Aww..." feeling. Yay for my AMCAS and a fat Aww because more essays =(

Monday, August 20, 2012

California Academy of Sciences...and Ice Cream

Will preface this by saying thanks to Solitary Diner and Ah yes, plans and other non-blog-o-sphere friends for the input on my job situation. I have decided to leave, and am trying to hurry things along. There are just too many things to deal with that shouldn't even be problems, like, "Hey, I thought I submitted my direct deposit for the second time last month, why hasn't it kicked in yet?" Or, that one time I overslept and asked my coworker why he didn't call to remind an elderly, forgetful patient to come downstairs, he responded, "Why should I? It's not my fault you were late." If I knew he would be such an ungrateful prick, I wouldn't have covered for him all those 15+ times (not an exaggerated number) he missed work by leading exercise classes that should have been his responsibility.

Anyway. Oversleeping is bad mmmkay. Moving cream!!!

Friend of mine had her wisdom teeth extracted, so naturally I briefly crawled out of my hermit hole to laugh at her puffy cheeks to celebrate. We went to the Ice Cream Bar. They make their own ice cream and the soda is made right in front of you.

Brownie sundae with one scoop of bourbon and caramel  ice  cream and vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zombies! Vampires!!

I read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith in the past four days. I preferred the Abe Lincoln/vampire hunter mash-up. It read more like a drama/biography, and I liked the photographs of 19th century vampires thrown in for good measure. It had a little bit of a conspiracy theory plot thrown in too. I can understand why people liked it so much. I think I reserved this book from the library in March, and I just picked it up on Friday.

P&P&Zombies felt kind of over-the-top because the author threw in ninjas and Shaolin kungfu, but the original book was pretty light-hearted and Mrs. Bennett was pretty over-the-top as a maybe it does fit. It was still a fun read, especially because I imagined Colin Firth's version of Mr. Darcy slaying zombies. teehee.

Both books were pretty fast reads. Maybe 3-4 hours each day over the course of 4 days, with a good chunk of that reading occurring during my bus commute and lunch breaks.

The Nom-of-the-Weekend: Chinese desserts

Black sesame paste (black sesame seeds blended into a paste and then cooked in a pot) with glutinous rice balls
From the establishment's page

Mango sago with fresh mango cubes:
From the establishment's page
It's basically a mango slushy (crushed ice, mango juice and mango bits blended) with fruit and sago. I had to look up sago to find out where it comes from. In desserts, they're small transparent pearls. Apparently, it's made from the starch extracted from the spongy centers of tropical palm plants. They don't taste like anything, but I like to have it in these desserts.

These can all be made at home. It's easy, just time-consuming.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Line

At what point does a person cross a line and think, "Alright, this job sucks. I'm miserable. I need to get out." Where is that line? It's all relative, of course, and should depend on the person in question.

A few months ago, I went through this really strong need to quit. I toughed it out because I had more pressing matters, like my MCATs and my personal statement. I'm entering Month #11 and have been battling that urge to just walk out. Forget the two-week notice, here's my 'fresh out of the printer' two-second notice. I also bore with it because someone told me, "As a medical student/resident/doctor, you're going to have to do things you do not like."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Sunday brunch was not so great today. Mainly because I didn't get to choose the venue. =P
No, really though. I'm not sure whether it was the scrambled eggs or mimosas, but my tummy hasn't been happy all day. I really shouldn't be drinking cocktails with artificial fruit juice, anyway. Nothing good ever comes out of those kinds of mixed drinks. My stomach has turned into a fruit snob, in addition to a beer snob.

But it was good to see these friends again.  I got together with two sassy ladies from my undergraduate days.  It's nice to talk to people who are not necessarily on the medical track in life, but are equally driven to do whatever they want to do.  One of them is going to make that big move from California to New York City in one month.  I think she wanted a change in life, and will also prepare to apply to schools for her Master's in Business Administration.  The other friend is going to work her way towards law school, eventually.

One of the things we talked about was where to go for grad school.  For medical schools, I think my chosen schools are evenly distributed across *most* of the country. The caveat is that I have not applied to very many schools in the Midwest.  Many of those schools favor people who are local or residents of nearby states (which is fine), so it seemed like a waste to apply to those schools. Anyway, I have been pretty tight-lipped about which specific schools I picked...aside from the obvious California schools.  Usually I just tell people that most of my preferred schools are in California and on the east coast." I dunno why, I guess I'm just very private about these things.

Anytime I mention "east coast," someone always assumes I'm aiming to be in New York City and inevitably says:  "Oh, you'll fit in just fine in New York City."

"What? You too? Why?" (I finally asked why)

"Well, people in NYC are very blunt.  They are very 'to the point.'  And, they don't care what other people think about them because they have an 'I'm from New York, so whatever,' attitude." (I don't know how accurate that is...But this is what I'm told from people who have been/lived there)

"Soooo basically.......I'm an asshole."



So there you have it, I'm a jerk. :D

Just kidding, I'm not, really.  I did notice that my blunt-ness became more pronounced in college.  I think it may have come from working with anesthesiologists (researchers and practicing doctors) all day.  Something about their personalities just brought that out in me.  I've also become a lot more sarcastic.  Unfortunately, these types of personality traits are not always well-received in the working-world, so I only let those aspects out when I'm around people I know well.

Anyway, it was fun to see these people again.  I got stuck on one of my secondary essays and have not been particularly good at motivating myself to write this week for various reasons.  Will try to reboot myself once these crummy mimosas are out of my system.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Busy Busy Bee

I made the mistake of ordering Blue Bottle coffee with my dinner last night.  I'm not sure if it's the brand of coffee, or if I'm just not used to drinking coffee in the evenings these days, but I was up until 4:30 and it was not pleasant.  As an aside, I don't know why Blue Bottle coffee is revered by people in this area. The flavor does not stand out to me.  Maybe I just don't "get" it?

Lately I've been volunteering at a senior center.  Originally, I was just a grant researcher, which is pretty easy (and boring).  In a twist, the Executive Director asked me to help him write one of the simpler grants.  With this one, he hasn't been successful in previous attempts, but I think recently they shifted focus or have a new Board Chair or something like that.  When things change in a grant-giving foundation, grant-seekers start sniffing around to get a feel for things.  It just means that this grant is a low priority one, and the paranoid me thinks that I'm being evaluated on grant-writing competency.  So I tried very hard to write a good draft.  Which is hard, considering I've only spent a grand total of 15 hours with this organization since June.  It felt like I just attended a crash course in learning about this organization.

Yesterday, I ventured into Oakland, CA for an interpreter-training orientation and language screening.  It was a huge waste of time.  The "orientation" was only a ten-minute talk about the agency and hours and the rest of the several hours was spent waiting.  I was also totally unprepared for the language screening in the weirdest, and maybe worst, possible way.  I consider my medical vocab to be pretty damn good for someone with no formal training (as in, not a certified interpreter from taking some test).  I know a lot of terms for diagnostic tests, diseases, major organs and glands.  Of course, I didn't get any of those quiz-words.  Instead, I got words like "pregnancy" and "delivery."  I totally forgot the formal term for "pregnancy" because I don't see pregnant women.  Ever.  I wanted to face plant in my keyboard.  How embarrassing.

I skipped the last two questions too, which involved answering questions in Chinese.  Question 1 asked, "What are problems you see in the American health care system, and what would you do to fix it?" Question 2 asked, "Are there lifestyles that you are more accepting of today, than you were when you were younger?"  I skipped it and left.  I don't even think I have a response to #2 in English.

The job hours were also very erratic, and the training seemed like a huge time drain - 8 hours of class-time, with homework, not including the commute.  They could also only guarantee 5-10 hours/week, which is kind of lame.  I definitely do not want my commute to exceed (in travel time or cost) the work. I really only waited around because the campus (it was on a school campus) had free wireless internet and I was able to work on my secondary app.

In other matters: I'm considering withdrawing my app from one of the schools I selected in my AMCAS application (or, ignoring the secondary entirely).  Upon further thought and research, I felt that maybe this place isn't what I am looking for in my career/education/life.  On one hand, I could work on the secondary just in case.  On the other hand, I could use that time to work on a secondary application for a school that I could see myself attending in the future.  I don't know why I let these things keep me awake at night, but they do.  I did put it on hold for a bit, because I do have other essays to write.

I've been doing a lot of writing lately.
Doing math for fun is starting to look very appealing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Next stop, Homeroom macaroni and cheese restaurant! 90% of the menu is some variation of mac and cheese. The remaining 10% are sides, beverages and dessert. All pictures were stolen from user-posted pictures from the restaurant's webpage, because my pictures aren't as good. The restaurant is in Oakland, CA. I rarely go there for food because San Francisco has plenty to eat and I have to pay toll, but I had to go there for an orientation and met up with friends who work in that city.

The restaurant's main decorative piece. The arrows show where certain things were brewed/grown.

Spicy mac and cheese. I don't remember what was in it exactly, and the online menu hasn't been updated. Mine had a lot more red pepper flakes though. I also asked for them to sprinkle bread crumbs on the surface. As far as I know, all of them are baked in the oven for a certain amount of food does take a while to come out.

I also ordered the Veggie pot pie to go for whoever wants to eat it at home. I did take a bite out of it though. It was deeeelicious. 

I took this picture with my crappy phone. 
Another thing that I thought was cute was their "frequent diner cards." Some stores or restaurants have a card for frequent customers. Every time you eat there, they give you a stamp and after 10 or so visits, you get one free meal or free item. This restaurant bought those dewey-decimal card cabinets that school libraries use to keep track of their books. It's cool to see it again, but I never liked going through the cards. Actually, I hated school libraries in general. There were always boogers on the books. Or a squished bug. I always used my allowance to buy books because they would be booger-free.

This last item was a gift from a friend. He mentioned that there is a Pyramid brewery near his work place, and offered to buy me one of their specialty beer brews. I usually like the Pyramid brews I've tried so I said "hell yeah!!" I was expecting a pint-sized bottle or however much a wine bottle can carry. I wasn't expecting a whole jug. The best part was having everyone stare as I carried it out of the restaurant.

Angry Bird plushie for size comparison. 
I'm also excited by the fact that this jar looks reusable. Hooray for practicality! I had to pay for his dinner because he bought me a giant jug of beer.

I get really excited about beer in general. Not enough to be a snob about it, but close. I have a lot more fun going to breweries than wineries...even if I'm the designated driver. I've given up on wines. There have been a few wines that I have liked, but not enough to want to consume a full glass or buy a bottle. It may also be that most of my friends prefer red wines, and I've noticed that red wine tends to give me headaches. Then again, cocktails make me nauseous unless they are mixed with real fruit and fruit juice...not that syrup crap.

Okay, I admit it, I'm a food snob.

The total amount of nom-ery for one person, including a non-alcoholic beverage, is about $15-$18 after tax and tip. For the Bay Area (which includes San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other places I don't care about-kidding!), it's a pretty good price. I can eat out for less without resorting to fast food. I still have to budget very carefully, otherwise it's easy to exceed $100 or even $150 on dining out each month. In general, I try not to dine out at restaurants where the meal exceeds $20, and I'm only willing to pay $40+ for a meal if it's a special dinner. There are also certain times of the year when I dine out a lot, and months when I never eat out.

If or when I make it into medical school, I definitely won't eat out as much. I gotta eat all these things now!!