Kabaelan: Memoirs of a scholar, a womyn, and so much more!

I visited the doctor today, and… (drum roll) she said I don’t have to walk around in a brace anymore!! I also don’t have to wear the SteriStrips, which she peeled off to reveal two very little scars.

Ashiness and hairiness aside, looks good!

My physical therapist and I have agreed that I’m about 98-99% healed, which means this has been a pretty quick recovery process. On the surface, everything looks good as new, but my meniscus still needs a few more months to fully heal. This means no running and no activities that require a lot of jumping and twisting. But otherwise, I’m walking normally and going up and down stairs (almost) normally.

It’s been a very interesting past few months being injured like this, and it’s made me really appreciate things that I took for granted while I was able-bodied. Just to name a few:

1) Painting my own toenails

I know some of you are thinking, “You would.” And I would. I love painted toenails. But for a month, I hadn’t been able to bend my leg enough to be able to paint them without pain or discomfort. As a result, my nails got pretty grody. But the good news is that a few days ago, I was able to finally paint them!

OPI Espresso Your Style nail polish atop Mount Soledad

2) Wearing jeans, slacks, etc.

Well, obviously, the brace got in the way of this. Wearing shorts every day got old fast, especially since I don’t own too many pairs to begin with. Hey, at least I got hurt during the summer time!

3) Going up and down the stairs (without crutches)

I’m still having difficulty with this, actually. But at least I’m doing it without crutches. I already wrote a whole other entry about inaccessibility, so I won’t go into it.

4) Swimming, hot tubbing, or anything that requires submerging myself in water

Go figure San Diego finally starts heating up AFTER I get surgery. But, today I got the okay from the doctor to swim, hot tub, etc. Good thing, too, because I’m leaving for Hawai’i in a little over a week!

5) Exercising

My post-high school ass never works out. But after hurting my knee, I’ll never take my ability to exercise for granted again. Ironically, I’ve been exercising more now than I have in years ever since I was able to get on the exercise bike. I really hope to stick to it in three months, when I’ll be able to run again.

I think this is going to be my last pots-op entry. Thanks again to all of you for your support! 🙂


Sorry, no pic of the actual inside of the restaurant. But really, it looks just like any other fast food place

Nic was craving fish tacos last night, so we searched “fish tacos” to look for a new place to try… and discovered that there’s another Mexican restaurant in the La Jolla Ralphs shopping plaza called Fins. WTF? I had no idea, and I’m there all the time! Well, curiosity was getting to us and we were looking for some place cheap and close by. And there it was, next to the Jamba Juice.

Atmosphere – 3

I give it this score in relation to other fast food joints; of course it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to a four-star restaurant. But even then, it gets a free. It’s kind of empty and just… white. Except for a random salt water fish tank in the middle of the restaurant, there’s really no decor. And it’s really, really white.

Food – 3.5

Nic and I both got fish tacos. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out they had street tacos until after ordering, so sorry for the lack of variety :/

Fish tacos with a side of beans and tortilla chips

The fish tacos get this score because I give it a 3 but Nic gives it a 4. We both liked how the fish wasn’t deep-fried, like it is with a lot of fish tacos. We also liked how big the tacos were, and we both left very full. But what I really didn’t like about this place is the salsa. For one, they only had one kind. And two, that one kind just wasn’t that great. And with that said, it was really hard to eat the chips because the salsa was so bleh. Overall, these tacos were good, but they were just lacking that extra zest.

But hey, that’s just me. Nic REALLY liked them. I too am willing to give one of their other dishes a try.

Nom nom taco nom nom

Service – 4

Not too bad for a fast food place. They even walk the food to you! And the food came quickly.

Price – $

Nothing here over $10. Tacos range from $2-$4 each. Combos range from $6-$8 each. But really, for a Mexican fast food restaurant, this is a little pricier than normal. Go figure; this place is in La Jolla after all.

Overall – 3.5

I want to come back and try the street tacos!! They’re only there for a limited time, though; 3 tacos for $3.99. Not bad. I’ll write an update on how those turn out. Overall? I’ve had better Mexican fast food. As a San Diego native, Lolitas is still my all-time favorite. And I hate to admit this, but I may even like Chipotle more than this place… for now.

Wow, I’ve really been slacking on the updates. It’s been a month now since surgery, and things have been going well! Two weeks ago, I started riding on the stationary bike, and that’s been super helpful to my recovery… plus, I’m finally getting some cardio! It’s pretty crazy how much muscle my right leg has lost. Prior to getting on the bike, my leg was feeling extra jello-like. It felt like I was touching my grandma’s arm. And there was a very obvious difference between my right and left leg. Well, the leg is still not very muscular, but I’m seeing improvement now that I’ve been stationary biking a lot.

On Monday, my physical therapist said I could try walking around on one crutch now, which I did. My knee was feeling really unstable but I was feeling no pain, so I think my difficulty walking was a psychological thing. And yesterday, I got to put away the other crutch, and now I’m walking freely! Well, almost freely. I still have to wear the brace for two more weeks. But since yesterday, walking has gotten easier and easier, and I’m even going up and down stairs now! It feels really good walking around with my hands free, and I’m really excited to finally get this brace off! If only that way will be as epic as this:

Next Friday, I have a final follow-up appointment with my doctor. She’ll check everything out and make sure I’m good to go, especially for Hawai’i. I leave for Hawai’i in two weeks!! 🙂 Hopefully my knee will be almost fully healed by then, at least healed enough to do mild hiking and snorkeling!

Romantic, dimly-lit, and beautifully decorated

My birthday was on Saturday, so Nic and I Yelp-searched for a new restaurant to try out. We both love Thai food, so we decided to give Lotus Thai in Hillcrest a shot. We got there at around 6:30p and Hillcrest was packed, as always. BUT, here’s a parking tip for anyone who wants to try out this place: park in the lot on 6th Avenue and Robinson St! It’s free! All you have to do is park, go into the restaurant just a block away to get a validation ticket, and place it on your dashboard. This is a huge perk because (free) parking is always so hard to find in this area.

One more thing: I apologize in advance for the dark pictures. The restaurant was dimly-lit, and I’ve been taking photos from my iPhone. I’ll start bringing my real camera to these things from now on.

Atmosphere – 5

We were very impressed with the atmosphere. I really wanted something a bit romantic, a good date spot for my birthday. I was not disappointed. Dinner by candlelight, comfortable booths, and a very ornate decor. Even the ceiling was beautifully decorated. It wasn’t over the top, either. I’d highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a place to take a date, though  I did also notice larger parties there.

Food – 3.5

I ordered their Meing Salmon off of their Specials Menu:

Bits of salmon with spinach, tomato, cilantro, and vermicelli noodles topped with lemon grass sauce

I gave this dish a 3.5 and Nic gave it a 4 because we were both hoping for a little more salmon. To be honest, the vague entree description made me assume that this dish would consist of a whole piece of salmon with a side of vermicelli noodles topped with tomatoes, cilantro, and spinach. But as you can see in the picture, the dish was more of a salad with salmon. I love spinach, but I really wished the dish had more salmon and noodles and less of the giant leaves of spinach. However, the taste was impeccable. I think the cilantro really added a nice touch to it, too.

Nic ordered the Pra-Ram Steamer with Squid from the Stir Fried menu:

Squid with broccoli, carrots, and spinach in a savory peanut sauce

Again, while the taste definitely gets a 5, we overall gave this dish a 4.5 because of the lack of squid. The peanut sauce was simply amazing, but they also really poured it on thick, which was quite overpowering. Nic loved it otherwise, though. He gobbled it up before I got to finish my meal, and you know that’s a pretty amazing feat for those of you who know me because I eat crazy fast.

Since it was my birthday, Nic asked the server if the restaurant gives some kind of birthday freebie. Once our food was finished, our server brought in Green Tea Ice Cream topped with honey:

Green tea ice cream with honey and sesame seeds, served in a martini glass

Honestly, it’s not the best birthday freebie I’ve ever gotten, and the ice cream had lots of ice chunks in it. Plus, I noticed this restaurant doesn’t have a dessert menu, so I think this is something they don’t normally do. It was tasty and a nice gesture nonetheless, and I went to Extraordinary Desserts afterward anyway to get my sweet tooth fix. I give this ice cream a 3.

Service – 4

We were seated quickly, although the hostess had me zigzagging between narrow rows of tables to get to our table despite me being on crutches. One of my biggest pet peeves about a restaurant is when they don’t keep our water glasses filled, but this place had no problem with that at all. Our server was good, though when he brought the ice cream over, he awkwardly and hesitantly sang “Happy Birthday” quietly, with my boyfriend chiming in. Again, this isn’t the same kind of atmosphere you’d see in a typical family restaurant, so no boisterous “Happy Birthday” songs from the entire restaurant staff (thank God).

Price – $$

Curry and stir fry entrees come out to around $9, while the seafood dishes are anywhere between $11-$15. Not too bad at all for what looks like a fancy restaurant.

Overall – 4

Nic and I definitely want to come back here and try other dishes. I wasn’t particularly blown away by the food, and I want to try some standard Thai dishes to compare with other restaurants (e.g. panang curry). For now, it’s nowhere near my favorite Thai restaurant in San Diego (that dubious distinction goes to Amarin Thai in Mira Mesa).

This Good Housekeeping article came up on the front page of Yahoo! titled “Don’t Let Money Problems Ruin Your Marriage.” My parents constantly fought about money issues as I was growing up, so I couldn’t resist reading this. The article consists of five so-called “money problems” that couples should work on avoiding. And look at what #3 is:

3. When Women Are the Breadwinners
Women are the breadwinners in one out of three dual-income families today. Although earning more money can be beneficial, it also challenges traditional gender roles, so that wives may feel guilty about putting less time into mom duties while husbands may feel like they’ve failed somehow. Set up equal spending rights with your spouse so that you’re both on the same page.

True, woman-headed households can cause tension because of the traditional gender roles we are brought up with, but calling it a “money problem” is a bit too much. The questions that should be asked here are: why do some wives feel guilty that they’re putting less time into “mom duties?” What are “mom duties?” Why do men feel like failures if they’re not breadwinners? Now, the solution is spot-on: setting up equal spending rights with your spouse. But shouldn’t this apply to heterosexual couples where the man is the breadwinner, not to mention same-sex couples? This article just really rubbed me the wrong way.

/rant of the day

Not your typical pho place

I have always loved good food and for the longest time have secretly openly dreamed of being a food critic. Now that I have new career dreams, I no longer dream this, BUT I still enjoy eating food, critiquing it, and writing about it as one can see on my Yelp account. But Yelp is pretty limiting, so I decided to dedicate a part of my blog to restaurant reviews.

This is for you if you: 1) are a broke college student or you live like one, and 2) enjoy atypical, non-franchised San Diego eateries. Honestly, I’m probably only going to do these once a week at the most because my ass is broke. And you won’t see me reviewing Donovan’s Steakhouse anytime soon.

So let’s start with our first victim restaurant, Quehuong Restaurant located in City Heights. We first learned about this place from our friend Zar, owner of PNOY Apparel [shameless plug goes here]. He told us they had damn good wings, duck, and boar, so how could we resist? One Yelp reviewer described the cuisine as North Vietnamese and that there was “no pho here.” I really can’t vouch for whether this is “authentic” North Vietnamese food or not, but there is pho served here. However, this place does primarily focus more on meat and rice entrees and less on pho.

Atmosphere – 4

It overall had a nice feel to it. It wasn’t overly crowded when we went (on a Sunday at around 7:00p). It was well-lit, clean, and aesthetically pleasing, though nothing too remarkable, either. I also liked how all of their tables were large and round, and most had a Lazy Susan on it. It’d be a good place to eat for a large group; in fact, all of the other people there were families. One thing that really threw us off, however, was this:

There were at least a dozen really large carp in this small tank!

We were seated right next to this fish tank crammed with large carp. They barely had enough room to breathe, and to top it off they were all fighting the unusually strong current of the tank filter. This was both amusing and sad, but it was mostly just… odd. We were really hoping they were only there temporarily.

Food – 4.5

Nic, my wonderful boyfriend and critiquing partner, ordered the deer with coconut sauce.

Deer in coconut sauce, served with white rice

We both gave this dish a 5, but note that neither of us had ever had deer before, so we didn’t really have much to compare it to. The meat was very tender and similar to a good steak. The coconut really complemented the deer; it was almost like a curry dish. The dish was also filling, but not overly so, either. The entree was so good that I completely forgot I was eating something that looks as cute as this:

Bambi 😦

As for me, I ordered the chicken wings with fish sauce:

Chicken wings with fish sauce. It actually came with more wings, but we dug in too quickly and forgot to take a picture :S

I love wings, especially buffalo wings. But I’ve never had wings with fish sauce before. They definitely got plus points for being innovative. Plus, they tasted great! Fish sauce and chicken, who would’ve thought?? The Yelp reviews call these the best chicken wings in San Diego, and even Zar gave them that dubious distinction. However, they only get a 4 in my book (Nic thought I was being too critical; he gives them a 4.5). Why? Because they were overcooked and tough. And they definitely aren’t the best chicken wings in San Diego, in my opinion. I give that award to the salted pepper chicken wings from Mandarin of Chula Vista.

Service – 4

The service was good. The staff was friendly. Our food didn’t come at lightning speed, nor did it get to the point where we started looking around wondering if we were forgotten. But like the atmosphere, it was good but nothing spectacular.

Price – $$

Expect to pay about $9 – $14 on an entree. It’s definitely not too bad for how much food you get.

Overall – 4

I do highly recommend this place. The food was overall great, and I would like to come back again to give the boar and the duck a try. If you’ve never had deer, you have to try this place! And to all you UCSD students, it’s a great excuse to escape bourgy La Jolla.

Sorry for the lack of updates! My post-op has been relatively uneventful since the last post.

So on Day 7 of my Post-Op (last Monday), I got my temporary handicap placard!

I always thought these things were blue

It took a few days for the hospital to finally give me the papers I needed to take to DMV to finally get this permit. But once I got this, it was smooth sailing. I even got to skip the crazy long DMV line because of my temporary disability! Of course, once I got it, I was excited and really wanted to use it soon after getting it. Target was right by the DMV, so we went there to park in my first handicap spot ever. But then…

And one of these mofos didn't have a handicap placard!!

All of the spots were taken!! I couldn’t believe it. There were about a dozen spots, and all were taken.

On Day 11 of my post-op (last Friday), I had my first post-op appointment with my doctor. She checked out my knee and said everything was looking good and I was healing surprisingly fast! My bruising was almost all gone at the time (it’s actually all gone now), and the best part: they removed my steri-strips and cleaned up all the dried blood! So now my knee looks like this:

Still swollen, but oh well

Yep, it’s just two little holes poked on both sides of my knee cap. Nothing too crazy. Anyway, new steri-strips were placed on my wounds, and I still have to bandage up and wear the brace. But I’ll be walking without crutches in 2 weeks and without the brace in 4 weeks!

I have PT later today, and it’ll be my first time on the stationary bike. We’re really working on putting more weight on my leg. I’ll probably update later on that 🙂

May 2018
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