Author Archive
Stories written by heisz

Concierge medicine offers personalized care, but not without controversy

More and more patients are forking over cash for medical services not usually associated with health care plans — physician accessibility and personalized attention.

Wife, mother creates project to define ‘normal’

Survey helps in comparing relationships

In 2005, Chrisanna Northrup snagged six figures for her first screenplay within a week of offering it for sale. The flurry of meetings and activities that followed wreaked havoc on what up until then had been a fairly traditional home life for Northrup, her chiropractor husband and their three children.

“It was probably one of the hardest times of my life, and it should have been the happiest time,” Northrup said.

Over the following months, while Northrup struggled to balance the new and exciting opportunities coming her way with the needs of her family, her relationship with her husband became increasingly strained. An appearance on the “Rachael Ray Show” interrupted their Easter celebration, underscoring the conflict already building within Northrup.

Philanthropists learn how to harness power of giving

The San Diego Women’s Foundation will celebrate a decade of philanthropic education and donation with its 10th Annual Grants Celebration at 5:30 p.m. June 1 at The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla. The milestone event will include representatives from more than 50 community partners, foundation members and members of the public. In addition, recipients of the 2010 grant program will be announced.

“The Big Bash is open to the public,” said Tracy Johnson, the foundation’s director. “It is free so come out and learn more.”

The past 10 years have seen more a refining of the process than a restructuring of the process for the San Diego Women’s Foundation. From day one, educating women about the philanthropic process has been central to the group’s mission.

Candid comedian dishes on aging, sexuality, life

Comedian and writer Carol Leifer will be appear at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center’s Garfield Theatre at 7:30 p.m. May 10 as part of the center’s 2010 Distinguished Author Series. She will be discussing her book “When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win.” A book signing will follow.

Leifer, who also bills herself as a Jewish lesbian vegan, saying, “I wasn’t part of a small enough minority,” began performing stand-up comedy in college and has gone on to write scripts for series such as “Saturday Night Live,” the Oscars, “Seinfeld” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” as well as appearing on “The Tonight Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Celebrity Apprentice” and other TV shows.

“When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win,” an autobiographic series of essays, is Leifer’s first book release. When not writing or performing, Leifer lives with her partner of 14 years, Lori Wolf, and their 3-year-old son, Bruno, in the Santa Monica hills.

Author turns to local Asian women for secrets of success

There are thousands of stories about immigrants who have come to the U.S. in search of the American Dream. Some of those stories end happily; some do not. For Giovanna Pang Garcia of Oceanside, the story was something of a fairy tale. Inspired by the opportunities she created for herself and motivated by a desire to help others achieve their own definition of success, Garcia has recently released a book that explores how Chinese-American women combine traditional values with American freedom and innovation to move past economic, ethnic, gender and educational obstacles.

“Why Chinese Women Are Not Broke” is based on interviews with 100 influential Chinese women, including many from San Diego. They represent all areas of industry and business, including politics, medicine, broadcasting, retail sales, banking and others. In sharing her own story and those of other accomplished Asian women, Garcia hopes to remind her audience of seven core values that have allowed generations of immigrants — from all backgrounds — to succeed in America.

Everything old is new again

Midlife boy meets midlife girl: Is there a happily ever after?

The good news for midlife adults is that the rules of the dating game haven’t changed. What is different is the emotional baggage men and women looking for romance bring to the forum.

“Some of the biggest issues in this age group have to do with money, children and grandchildren, work and/or retirement issues and the whole sex and intimacy issue,” said Mary Berney, MSW, an author, speaker and creator of the new Dating Cafe, a personal connections experience especially for those over 40. “One of the most significant issues is having the self-confidence to be out there.”

Jessica von Buelow, a 60-something La Jolla resident, has a lot of experience with the dating scene. In addition to being single, she works at The Riford Center organizing tea dances and other social events.

Community to climb for a cause

Members of San Diego’s Down Syndrome (DS) community are reaching up and out in honor of World Down Syndrome Day with an indoor rock climbing fundraiser that will also include a health and wellness fair, prizes, entertainment and children’s activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 21 at Solid Rock Gym, 13026 Stowe Drive in Poway.

This family-friendly celebration is being hosted by DS Action, a nonprofit organization that serves as a resource to families and individuals in San Diego living with DS, in conjunction with Rady Children’s Hospital. Rady’s houses the Pediatric Down Syndrome Center, a specialized facility offering multidisciplinary assessments to children ages 0 to 5 with Down syndrome, a project pioneered by DS Action in 2008 and the beneficiary of funds raised by this event.

“We need to sustain that center and that costs us roughly $70,000 a year,” said Sharla Hank DS Action president and mother of a 4-year-old son with DS, who calls the center the organization’s “first major accomplishment.”

One cool gift: Bassoonist hopes to thank benefactors with trip to Arctic

Talk about “thinking outside the box”: In an effort to raise funds for the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, bassoonist/oceanographer Dr. James Swift is offering a 38-day research trip to the Arctic Ocean on a Coast Guard icebreaker to thank the highest bidder.

The recent economic downturn has put the pinch on funding for many nonprofits, forcing organizations to look for new and enticing ways to raise money and keep donations coming in. In appreciation for a donation of $25,000 or more, Swift, a research oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, will select one bidder to accompany him on a research trip to the Arctic.

“(The idea) came up in a meeting I had with Jim in early fall, but there were a lot of things that needed to be confirmed,” said Diane Salisbury, executive director for the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus. “He’s always looking for unique fundraising opportunities, and he came up with what I think is a completely new idea.”

Play addresses chronic conditions

The arts have served as a reflecting pool for humanity for thousands of years, casting back images of mankind’s experiences and observations about life. Mary Plant-Thomas dipped her toe into this pool with her presentation of “To Be Diagnosed,” a play recently performed at UCSD’s Arthur Wagner Theatre.

Based on a series of interviews conducted with individuals affected by various medical conditions such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, scleroderma and irritable bowel disease, as well as Plant-Thomas’ own experience with Crohn’s disease, “To Be Diagnosed” offered the audience in insider’s view on what it is like to live with chronic health issues. The goal of the play, which ran Jan. 29-30 as her major project in directing class, was to entertain, educate and raise awareness about the impact of such diseases.

“Society doesn’t know how to talk to people who have to live with these conditions,” Plant-Thomas said. “I feel like (the issue) is underrepresented.”

Ripple effect

Women inspired by author to build modern-day mikvah

In 2008, a group of women attending an event featuring Anita Diamant, author of “The Red Tent,” were so inspired by the writer’s portrayal of a modern-day mikvah in Boston that they began meeting less than a month later to begin envisioning a similar facility for the San Diego Jewish community.

They incorporated that same year to create Waters of Eden, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and creation of the San Diego Community Mikvah and Education Center, a facility that will not only allow Jews of all backgrounds to participate in the ritual of immersion, but provide a spiritual forum for celebration, education and learning.

As 2009 rolls over into 2010, the organization has announced the official launch of the fundraising and community education component of its plan with the presentation of “The Mikveh Monologues” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla.