Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eyeball Explosion - August 2005

Since the writing of the entry "Mother on Facebook Causes Irresponsible Behavior to End", there have been several inquiries about my retina situation. Instead of telling the entire story again, I thought I'd just post the mass email that I sent out the week following the eyeball explosion. (Note: The term "eyeball explosion" comes from the inter-office email that one of the receptionists sent out to the staff informing them why I would be out of the office. This was the term she used, and what can I say? It stuck.) For those of you who have been long-time recipients of my email updates, please don't feel obligated to continue reading. For others, I take you back to Logan, Utah, summer of 2005. . .

From: Stephanie Amber Tesch
Sent: Sunday, August 21, 2005 8:19 PM

Subject: Eyeball Explosion

Arrrr! Sorry for the mass email, but it is truly the most efficient way of disseminating information. Last week, I had an unfortunate eyeball incident. The short story is this: I experienced a retinal hemorrhage on Tuesday of last week and this was followed by an emergency surgery to put a gas bubble in my eye to create pressure on my retina. I had to lay face down for three days, which was quite unpleasant, but I persevered. I can walk around now, which is good. My buddy Katie has graciously sewn me a pirate patch which is quite fabulous. The gas bubble will be absorbed in about three weeks and at that time I can start to get an idea of how much of my vision I will get back. It won't ever be as good as before, but such is life. I would like to take a moment to address a few questions that have frequently been asked regarding my situation:

1. No, my eye will not "turn into" a "lazy", "googily", "wandering", or "crazy" eye.

2. At this point, eating carrots will not help my eye. I am past the point of preventative medicine.

3. I do not think that "showing a little leg" will distract anyone from looking at my bloody eyeball.

4. Marijuana is for glaucoma, NOT a retinal hemorrhage. I do not need you to "hook me up".

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive over the past few days and who has and will continue to help me out with food, transportation, and companionship.

With love, Stephanie Amber, the one-eyed Pirate

This photo is from Jimbo and Kate's Wedding party, about two weeks post-eyeball explosion. At the time that this photo was taken, pretty much all I could see was a bunch of black, lava lamp-esque orbs floating all over the place. Understandably, you may be thinking to yourself, "She was heinously visually impaired. Why was she smiling?" Well, this was one of the few times that I attended a party at Jimbo's house in which the toilet was enclosed in a room with walls and a door. Who cared about busted up retinas when you can enjoy peeing at a party in privacy?!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trevor, This is Not the Holocaust

Trevor (my brother-in-law through engagement) just likened me to Anne Frank. Why? Because Anne wrote a diary in an attic annex, and I write a blog in a studio.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19th Special Election - My Opinion on 1D and 1E

At first glance, choosing how to vote on Props 1D and 1E can seem so hard. . .it is like asking a mother to pick which of her children she likes best! But here is my opinion:

Essentially, Prop 1D will take money from early childhood development programs (First 5) and put it towards foster care and children with disabilities. My take on it is this: If we reduce our early childhood intervention (which includes parenting classes, home visits to new parents, etc), we are essentially creating a bigger problem for ourselves 3-5 years down the line because we will be generating an even higher # of kids who are either in foster care or have severe medical/developmental issues that could have been addressed (and possibly reduced or eliminated) if they had received appropriate services early on.

Prop 1E takes money from adult community mental health services and puts it towards child, teen, and young adult mental health services. First of all, adult community mental health services are HUGELY important in reducing homelessness, incarceration, illegal drug use, etc. Not to mention that they help to stabalize families by assisting mentally ill adults with children (of which there are many) to be more effective parents. If we reduce these services, we are really going to see the impact within a short period of time. Also, mental health services for children, teens, and young adults are federally mandated, so the state HAS to pay for them.

The state financial situation is truly heinous right now, however, I do not agree that cutting crucial services will help the situation. By doing that, we are only putting the most vulnerable people at greater risk. To fix this budget issue, I suggest that we become far more innovative in our thinking by looking at issues like prison reform, job/skill develoment, and legalization of marijuana.

Now get out there and VOTE!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mother on Facebook Causes Irresponsible Behavior to End

This afternoon, the San Diego County Young Democrats hosted a fantastic Kickball Tournament/fundraiser at the beautiful Kate Sessions park in North Pacific Beach. Although I am incredibly uncoordinated, I still wanted to join a team. I mean, really. Surely even I could master a sport as basic as kickball! Unfortunately, I mistakenly mentioned the idea of playing kickball to my mother. Mom immediately made me promise not to engage in such irresponsible behavior for fear that the impact of a playground ball thrown at my head might be the final blow to the old retinas.

Ah, I know what you sneaky kids are thinking - my mom lives in New Hampshire and I live in San Diego, so how would she ever know if I were to play? Well, my mom is on Facebook (along with most everyone else's mom) and there is sure to be photographic evidence posted all over my page by my friends. So, I did what any kid whose mom is on Facebook would do - I volunteered to work the registration table and pick up the players' empty beer cans.

That's me at the Registration Table.

What? Mom didn't say I couldn't have a beer. . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thrifty Grocery Shopping at Henry's Farmers Market

There are few things in life that make me happier than getting a good deal. What can I say? Being thrifty is incredibly satisfying.

So, I went grocery shopping at Henry's Farmers Market on Sunday afternoon following the Young Dems board retreat. Now, generally, I don't shop at Henry's because most of my food is obtained from either my CSA, Be Wise Ranch, or my beloved Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Market (which I refer to simply as the "Co-Op"). However, I had received a coupon from the previous weekend's Healing Arts Festival for $5 off a $20 purchase at Henry's, and I couldn't resist the temptation of a bargain. I brought along my Go Green Book of coupons and also picked up an additional coupon book at the entrance of the store. For the next 40 minutes, I amused myself by finding all of the items that were on sale AND that I had a coupon for. At the check-out, the cashier said, "Damn, girl!" when I handed him my fistful of coupons. "Damn, girl" is right because I cut 1/3 off of my total bill by using coupons. I packed up all my deals in my re-usable bag and headed out. What a fantastic Sunday afternoon! So here's my tip for this thrifty trip: Save your coupons until the store puts your items on sale, and that is when you can get the optimum savings.

Also, I stumbled upon a stellar offer from Organic Heros : If you buy an Organic Valley Family Farms item and a Nature's Path Organic item, you can send in the bar codes and receive a free year subscription to Organic Gardening magazine. Additionally, Organic Valley and Nature's Path will make a donation to Rodale Institute's Farmers Can Be Heros program.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Scruples and the Young Dems Board Retreat

As many of you know, a few weeks ago I was elected Vice President of the San Diego County Young Democrats. The advent of such a prestigious position has required many changes in my life, namely trying to find space for the secret service agents in my studio apartment, identifying a hair-do which can withstand the high winds of my rooftop helicopter launch pad, and the editing of my telephone conversations for fear that my cell has been tapped by the opposition.

This weekend, the entire executive board of the Young Dems went to a secluded location to discuss our strategic plan for world domination. Although it began well, we were soon derailed by a bottle of Patron and early 80's board games. (I am certain that many other attempts at world domination have been thwarted in a similar manner.) One board game in particular, Scruples, presented us with the opportunity to discuss our personal ethics. By presenting questions such as "Would you place your retarded sibling in an institution?", this board game reminded us of just how far our society has come in the past twenty years. The 1986 version of Scruples, which is riddled with socially inappropriate language and antiquated electronics references (ie "vcr" and "cassette tape") apparently does have an updated Scruples Millennium Edition. I am afraid to even imagine what type of modern-day moral dilemmas are included in this 21st century edition.

Strategic planning

Scruples and Patron

We are SO excited to be Young Dems!

Sunset view from the back porch

Friday, May 8, 2009


So, as promised, this is the Haylapa post. During my stay-cation in late April, I went out to Descanso (a small town in the San Diego back country) and stayed in this gorgeous straw bale house, which is named the Haylapa .
For those of you who don't know, straw bale construction is a sustainable building method that uses straw bales as structural elements (kinda like big bricks). It has advantages over some conventional building systems because of its low cost, easy availability, and high insulation value.

The home and property were covered with unique artwork created by the artisan owners. Metal structures, handmade willow furniture, and mosaic tiles decorate this serene get-away. It is absolutely amazing to me how some people have an innate ability to create a space. This couple took a small piece of land and created a dwelling that blends beautifully with the landscape.

On a more practical note, the Haylapa has a composting toilet. This was my first composting toilet experience, so I was a little hesitant at first, but it is really no big deal at all. It is incredibly simple and doesn't stink at all. As I said earlier, the Haylapa is out in the back country and in the back country, there there is very little water. (Actually, San Diego County is a desert climate, so there is very little water in any part of the county, back country or otherwise.) The composting toilet makes perfect sense for a desert climate, as it does not use any of the scarce water resources.

On the outdoor patio, there is a handmade pizza oven, where, after receiving a baking tutorial from the owner, we created six pizzas. The first two were absolute doozies and ended up in the coals. By the time pizza number three was inserted into the oven, it was dark, I was hungry, and dinner was not looking like it was going to come to fruition. Thankfully, amazingly, the subsequent pizzas were successful and delicious. My tip for future pizza making is this: don't waste your expensive ingredients (in our case, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and goat cheese) on the first couple of pizzas. Save the good ingredients for the last few, when you've figured out what the hell you're doing.

Also, if you're wondering how I found out about this place - I discovered it on the website Vacation Rentals By Owner . I have stayed at two VRBO properties (the Haylapa and an enormous, Spanish-style house on the ocean in Rosarito, Mexico) and both experiences have been really fantastic. I like staying at homes better than hotels because it allows you to have a more intimate and unique experience in a new place. Plus, you are supporting locals rather than hotel corporations. I encourage you to try it out the next time you are planning a trip - there are homes listed from all over the world!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I was living my life. Give me a break!

I have received numerous complaints about starting a blog and then abandoning it for over a month. You know what it means when I am not writing in my blog, people? It means that I am living my life. I am so darn busy that I don't have time to sit down and write a post. You should all be incredibly happy for me, don't you think?

Okay, enough with the grumpy monkey attitude. So, I actually have been really busy. I hosted out-of-town guests, I placed four kids during the month of April (which means work was wicked crazy), I had my fabulous birthday celebration (posted photo is of Rose and I laughing our hineys off), I "went" on stay-cation, organized a volunteer event at the Feeding San Diego food distribution center, etc, etc. Also! It is important to note that I received an Ipod for my birthday, which is my first MP3 player item, so I have been spending all of my computer time transferring my music from cds and downloading NPR podcasts. When one is given the choice between writing a blog and creating fabulous, elaborate playlists, one chooses the creation of playlists. (Well, if one has been Ipod-less for her entire life up until this point, one chooses creation of playlists.) So, if you really want someone to blame for the lack of blog posts, you can blame Bryan (aka the President of the San Diego County Young Democrats) who gave me the beautiful gift of an Ipod.

I will try to catch you up on things over the next few posts. I am going to really, really try to be diligent about posting. Here is a teaser for the next post: Haylapa.

P.S. There may be a delay in photo postings because I dropped my digital camera in a tide pool while babysitting my little shmoopie. Apparently, I can be trusted with children, but not electronic devices.