Sunday, March 21, 2010

SDCYD Fundraiser for Patrick Finucane

On March 7, the executive board of the San Diego County Young Democrats hosted a fundraiser for Patrick Finucane, a Young Dem who is running for San Diego City Council. For the fundraiser, we chose a "Taste of District 2" theme, which featured small bites and alcohol pairings. Here is the menu:

Soft Pretzels & Weiners/PBR: Petco Park
Fish Tacos/Tecate: Beaches

Garden Salad/Chardonnay: Farmer's Markets

Vegetable Lasagna/Merlot: Little Italy

I was especially proud of my salad, which included mixed greens, beets, maple roasted walnuts, goat cheese, and an organge balsamic vinagrette. The entire salad was organic, expect for the goat cheese because organic goat cheese is obscenely expensive.

Anyhow, despite various mishaps with the board members, all of the food was fantastic! (Oh, and I think we raised some money for Patrick too.)
This is our President making homemade salsa for the fish tacos. He also made TWO different types of white sauce. So yummy. Now every time I go to Bryan's, I want fish tacos. Seriously.

La Milpa Organica Farm

Last night, Rose, Audrey and I went to La Milpa Organica Farm for the Spring Equinox pot luck dinner. I put together a big bowl of my wasabi coleslaw and packed a bag with plates and forks. We climbed into the car with our jackets and scarves and drove north on the 15 in search of our organic adventure.

The evening totally reminded me of the potluck dinners I attended in my friends' yards when I lived in Utah. What a wonderful feeling of fellowship! The meal at dusk had all of the neccesary components: delicous homemade food, beautiful gardens and friendly people. There was even an outdoor wood fire pizza oven, which brought back fond memories of my Haylapa experience.

The night concluded with the showing of an outdoor film, Fresh. Fresh is a documentary about food security, and as to be expected, it contained all of the classic, stomach-turning footage of poultry, pig, and dairy farms. There is no reason to eat commercial meat, people. It just is not worth it.
La Milpa Organica Farm holds potlucks on the third Saturday of every month, and I am sure that we will be attending more. If you want to come along, just let me know!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Guess who's debt free?

I am no longer financially chained to the US Department of Education! Yes, it's true - in December, I made the final payment on my student loans. This is an amazing, liberating feeling, and I hope that one day, all social workers with heinous amounts of debt can experience it. Now, to be fair, I really didn't have heinous amounts of debt because I scored some pretty awesome scholarships for grad school. However, when you are only making $12/hour at your first post-MSW job, the idea of paying off any amount of debt can be pretty daunting. My strategy was this - Instead of paying the minimum payment every month, I paid 25% extra. Additionally, when I received my income tax refund each year, I applied it toward the loans. And ta-da! In just under six years, the loans have been paid off.

To celebrate, I invited my friends and family to Happy Hour at the The Prado. Of course, upon arriving at The Prado, I had my car valet parked. You see, now that I have no loans, I can really enjoy a luxury lifestyle. (Okay, actually, I was running really late and didn't have time to find an open spot in Balboa Park, so I decided to splurge a little with the valet so as not to be rude and show up late for my own party.) The Prado's Happy Hour is especially fabulous because it is from 8-10pm, which is not your typical Happy Hour timeslot. Additionally, appetizers and drink specials are all under less than $5. That's an amazing deal at such a swanky spot. Granted, pretty much everything on the appetizer menu is fried, and will therefore negates any calories burned in your 7AM Pilates session. But really, Happy Hour isn't intended to be uber-healthy. Here are some photos from the celebration:
In this final photo, Rose is indicating that she has a little school debt and I am indicating that I have zero school debt. (I thought that an interpretation of the photo may would be helpful.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Apartment Remodel

For the past two years, my apartment building has been going through a remodel. As people move out, the apartments are given a full face-lift. I have been steadfastly holding out from the remodel (primarily to preserve my low rental rate), however, by September, I was starting to get the feeling that my days were numbered and I would be getting a notice informing me of a higher rent (a thinly veiled attempt to get me to move out). As most of you know, I really, really like my corner unit studio. I have a great view, and on the nights that the guy downstairs isn't practicing "Bohemian Rhapsody" on his guitar, it is pretty quiet. So, in a fabulous moment of genius, I negotiated a deal with my landlord in which I would move into the apartment next door while mine was remodeled. I even got the contractor and his henchmen to move all my furniture and boxes!! The apartment was finished in four weeks and it came out really well. I do have to pay $75/month more in rent, but I don't mind. As Rose pointed out, I am saving like 3 hours a week by not having to wash dishes by hand, and isn't that alone worth $75?

I need to give a special shout-out to Chris, who flew here from Utah and spent the Wednesday before Thanksgiving moving all of my stuff back into the newly remodeled place. I wasn't even there to help!! I had to work and when I came home from the office, it was done. How amazing is that?

Here are some "before" and "after" photos:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bionic Eye or Fetal Retinal Cells?

Tonight, my friend Chris called and told me about a story that he'd just heard on All Things Considered. Chris explained that the story discussed a new solution for retinal diseases and he didn't have all the details, but he thought that it involved implanting part of a fetus into the eye. He suggested that this procedure would be a great way to connect my pro-choice beliefs with my visual impairment.

Anyway, after my Young Dems board meeting this evening, I logged onto and found the retina/fetus facts. For those of you interested, you can check out the story, "Bionic Eye Opens New World of Sight for Blind", which explains two options for us retina-challenged folk: a bionic eye and the implantation of fetal retinal cells. TWO options. How cool is that?!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

6 Months to Go!

Well, folks, today is October 11th, so that means that I only have 6 months remaining in my 20's! Knowing that my 6 month mark was quickly approaching, I have been trying to engage in some crazy and exciting activities so as to end my 20's with a real kick. You know, I really just want to rev things up. Here are some of the wild things that I've come up with so far:

* October 3, 2009 - Volunteering at the Crawford High School Community Garden
(Jenny and I are using pitchforks to mix rotten produce to the compost pile.)

* October 8, 2009 -
Rose and I are discussing the latest episode of our fav new show, "Glee". (We both agree that the show is FABULOUS but it is really unlikely that Will would be unaware that his wife is faking a pregnancy and we don't understand why the Cheerios wear their uniforms to school every day. )

Other exciting things that I am spending my time doing but that don't have photos to accompany them:
* Repotting house plants
* Consolidating my 401(k) plans into my Roth IRA
* Cleaning the tile in my bathroom
* Scanning old photographs into a digital format (this involves sitting at the photo kiosk in CVS for hours)
* Transferring my prescriptions to my new health care plan's prescription delivery service
* Using the "gum stimulator" tool that my dentist gave me in an attempt to ward off periodontal disease
* Reserving books on the library's electronic inter-library loan program

As I review my list of "wild and crazy" activities, I am beginning to fear that instead of celebrating my 30th birthday in April, I may actually be celebrating my 70th. Suggestions are appreciated. . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Trifecta of September 2009: Swine Flu, Santa Anas, and Construction

Pretty much everyone who reads my blog is already my Facebook friend, so you all are more than well-aware of my ridiculous situation this week. I thought I'd just do a quick blog about it, since, let's be honest, I really have nothing else to do.

On Tuesday, I left work early because I was feeling sick. Wednesday, I woke up with a temperature of 100.4. Uh, oh. I called my doctor's office, described my symptoms, and they asked me not to come in. Then they called back about 2 hours later and said that they had reconsidered and they wanted me to come back in so that they could check my vitals. I told them that I felt like crap and I really didn't want to come, but they insisted. (Someone clearly got ahold of my chart, saw that I have a history of SVT during infections, and told the nurse to get me in before they got sued for malpractice.) Of course, as I sat in the waiting room, I was made to wear a mask. Being asked to wear a mask is perhaps the most stigmatizing thing that can happen to someone this season. There was a woman in the waiting room who I am certain was a mentally-ill streetwalker (she was talking to herself about restraining orders, she was horribly underweight, and was wearing an "I just qualified for a home loan with the help of ACORN" outfit), and even she gave me a disdainful look as if I was an absolutely gross, germ-ridden human being. The outlook is not good, my friends, when you have prostitutes thinking that you are nasty.

Anyway, my vitals were normal ("normal" for me being: low blood pressure 107/60, high resting pulse 80, and low body temp 98 degrees). They did this heinous flu test which I am warning you all about now - it involves a long straw with a small bottle washer at the end which is stuck so far up your nose that I am certain it dislodges parts of your brain. Of course, this test had to be done twice - one is a "Rapid Flu" test and one has to be cultured, so it will take about a week . By the time the cultured test results are in, I'll be back amongst the members of society, so I don't know why it even matters. Perhaps I can be another notch on the San Diego Public Health Department's H1N1 belt. I was told that I should start "Tamiflu" and that I was not to leave my apartment for 72 hours. I told them I'd just finished my library book, and asked if I could go to the library. They said "no" and suggested that I have someone drop off books at my apartment door. See, I was just testing them to determine how legit of a quarantine they expected. Clearly, this one is to be pretty legit.

Thankfully, both Rose and my sister, Katie, were brave enough to cross the quarantine caution tape and bring me items to entertain myself and soothe my illness. Katie appeared with a plastic bag of DVDs, cough drops and a Ziplock bag of large, white, unmarked pills. (I was hoping for muscle relaxers, but she later confirmed that they were Vitamin C. Darn.) Rose came fully armed with a Jamba Juice smoothie, magazines, dvds, two trashy novels, honey, limes, and Emergen-C. You see, Rose had this illness in the days prior to my own infection, so she was really dialed in on the needs of an ill, house-bound person.

The factor that I am dealing with that is making my quarantine slightly more miserable is the Santa Anas. It is hot as hell, and although I am thrilled to death that I don't live in the blazing inland inferno that is El Cajon, it is still pretty sizzlin' here in Point Loma. See, I live relatively close to the beach, so I don't have air conditioning. I also only have west-facing windows, so there is absolutely no cross-ventilation. Okay, I am going to admit a very bad thing that I did yesterday in sheer desperation: I opened the door to my apartment building in an attempt to get some cross-winds. Now, this might not seem so bad if my door didn't open into an interior hallway and I didn't potentially have a pandemic virus. I realized after about 10 minutes that my attempt to get some ventilation was possibly endangering other members of society. Whoops. My bad.

Anyhow, I got through yesterday and now I am on Day 2 of Quarantine. Today is when the Trifecta hit - they started demolishing the apartment next door. Seriously? Really? I (possibly) have the swine flu, it is hot as hell and now I have the horrific racket of an apartment being ripped to shreds. This is like some sort of joke. You know that movie, "The Money Pit"? (My sister and I watched it all the time when we were kids, because we loved, loved, loved Shelly Long.) I feel like my life this week is reminiscent to the "Money Pit". I am afraid that it is only a matter of time before I fall through the floorboards while wedged into an Oriental rug.