My paternal grandmother, who has been a complete vegetable for a year or so, finally died early yesterday morning. Everyone is very relieved.

Surreally, I woke up yesterday morning to the following two text messages that had been delivered while I slept, the first from brother and the second from mom:

“Another One Bites the Dust” is OK.

Grandma finally got to go home this morning.

I honestly don’t know how grandma would have reacted to this, but I think it’s pretty hilarious XD

Sad day

My little dog Hiko has swallowed a wire of some sort. He’s staying at the full-service vet overnight getting fluids in the hopes it will flush out of where it’s been sitting and pass through his digestive tract. A third set of radiographs in the morning will give a new perspective, and then I can decide whether or not he will have very expensive and scary abdominal surgery.

I am exceptionally sad and worried right now. Please to be keeping Little Man in your thoughts.

Here is a picture of him sadly hiding in the closet because he was in pain. Suffering was never so adorable T__T

EDIT 9:45 AM: The wire has not moved at all, despite the fluids and some food. He’s going to surgery.

EDIT 1:30 PM: He is out of surgery and doing well. The wire was embedded in his duodenum, which is why it wasn’t moving, but the doctor says there was very little inflammation at the spot and he’s confident of a good recovery.

I am so relieved I can’t even.

EDIT 7:30 PM: Home at last. So happy to have my Best Dog back. Poor little guy. $1,500.

EDIT DAYS AFTER THE FACT: I figure I’ll put down the actual sequence of events in greater detail so as to have a coherent record.

On the Tuesday that was my last day off work before returning after my own surgery, at around noon I noticed that Beeks was declining treats and hiding a lot (as pictured above). My immediate concern was foreign body, and I started watching carefully for signs of intestinal obstruction. There were no such signs, however, so I was a bit puzzled. I thought maybe he had a little bug, and resolved to wait and watch. (Later, since my “guess” {intuition} turned out to be correct, I regretted not taking him to a full-service vet that day when I was free.)

Overnight, I noticed he couldn’t seem to get comfortable, and one time he actually got up and went to hide in the closet again, though I put him back on the bed. On Wednesday, before work, I was noticing kyphosis and apparent discomfort in general but especially when sitting down. He was still defecating normally, so I was still at a bit of a loss, and in any case I had to go to work.

At work, however, I received a text from my mom (Hiko takes a nap on her bed from the time I leave to the time she gets up) saying that she’d reached over to pet him and he’d snapped at her. Now, Heeks is the sweetest and friendliest dog in the world, so this was the final sign that something was very wrong. Since dad was working from home that day (THANK FUCKING TOLKIEN, since mom’s MS would have made this very difficult for her), I requested he take Little Man to a full-service vet.

(Of course at this point mom wondered why one of the doctors at my clinic couldn’t look at him, which surprised me a little — I’ve been there almost three years; surely she must understand by now how limited a clinic we are? Most pertinently, we don’t have an x-ray machine.)

I’ve actually had no need whatsoever of a full-service vet… um, ever… because I’ve never had an animal sick or injured before, and my own clinic suffices for the things we do (vaccines and spays/neuters). Which means I wasn’t on file anywhere in town, and had to choose a clinic to send Leeko to. I chose the place I did my internship at, because I liked them so much, and I was pleased to find that some of them there actually remembered me even after three years! How cool is that!

Anyway, dad took Teeks in there, and after a while texted me the images from the first set of radiographs:

I knew instantly what that was. I have these bead curtains on my bedroom door that are composed of long wooden beads held together with stiff wires. I’ve caught Beeks chewing on fallen beads before, but I didn’t think he’d be silly enough to swallow one of the wires. More fool me -__-

Anyway, they kept him at the clinic giving him fluids and planning to take more images at around four in the afternoon. If the wire had moved at that point, they thought he might be able to be sent home in the hopes that it would pass. If it had not moved, surgery might have to happen. So I got to fret all day about that.

In the evening, the new radiographs revealed that the wire had not budged. The doctor I spoke to said that it was still possible it might move, but that surgery then and there was an option. I chose the middle ground, having him stay overnight (so I could fret more) and receive more fluids, then see how a third set of images looked in the morning.

In only tangential news, I’m trying a new sleep medication, and it had proven remarkably ineffectual up until this point. The doctor had told me I could go to two pills a night if just the one wasn’t working, and I thought this particular night — extremely worried and without my little dog to cuddle — was a perfect time to give that a try. And I’m cautiously hopeful about the outcome; I seemed to sleep OK that night and on subsequent nights with the double dose.

On Friday morning, a different vet from the full-service clinic called me (he was the one that specifically remembered me from my internship) at around 8:00. In fact I had a client in my exam room, and she was very understanding about my need to take a phone call in the middle of getting her dog checked in. The vet said that the wire had once again not moved at all, and he thought surgery was the next step. So I gave the go-ahead, and then could not stop absolutely freaking out for the next three hours or so.

When he called back, it was with the information I mentioned above: the wire had lodged in Hiko’s duodenum, allowing for the flow of fluids and even food through his digestive tract but causing him constant discomfort. It was removed with no problem and only a small incision into the duodenum, and he was all closed up and waking up from anesthesia with no complications. I cried and cried of relief and joy, and texted everybody.

My thoughtful supervisor and head doctor had been just about to allow me a long lunch to go visit Little Man, but the vet on the phone specified that I could pick him up that afternoon, so there was no need for that. It’s not impossible that my co-workers just wanted me to go see him because I was so completely useless while I so worried about him XD

That evening, when I went to the full-service clinic, I found a very groggy Beeks that nevertheless wagged his tail at me the entire way home. Also they’d saved part of the wire for me to look at, and I was confirmed in my assessment of its origin. I love my bead curtains, but I love my dog more, and they’re getting thrown away as soon as there’s space for them in the garage trash cans (we forgot to take the trash out, so those are all full XD). For now they’re still hanging up, because hanging up seems safer than lying down somewhere.

So that’s about the whole story. As I mentioned about, it cost me $1,500, which is very inconvenient right after I had surgery, but still about a thousand dollars less than I expected and pretty reasonable for the services he received. Poor little guy. I’ll only add at this point that Peeks has always been extremely difficult to pill, and with two antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory, and a pain med, we have a little rigmarole every twelve hours now. Pill Pockets worked exactly once :\

I love my dog.

Mt. Rushmore trip

About twenty years ago we went to see Mt. Rushmore, but underestimated South Dakota’s peculiarities and found it so snowy and cold (in June) that the vacation kinda sucked and failed. Last year we planned to try again, but unluckily scheduled our trip for the weekend just following Independence Day; I was totally unable to find a place for Hiko to stay while we went, and the hotels we’d already booked didn’t accept pets. So we went to grandma’s house instead.

This year we actually managed it: three pet-friendly hotels, four days of driving through the hottest weather evar, 61 mammoths, and stopping to look at random touristy stuff and see if Beeks felt like pooping yet.

The first thing we discovered was that downtown Cheyenne has a shit-ton of PokéStops. Of the four of us that live in Colorado Springs, dad is the only one not playing this game, but he’s watching the social phenomenon with amused interest, and tends to drive us around without complaint to stops and gyms. We really didn’t anticipate spending quite so long in Cheyenne XD

South Dakota, on the other hand, was entirely dead on both data and cell signal for all the Pokémon trainers in the car. I was really looking forward to finding out what might be hanging around near Mt. Rushmore, and what stops and gyms there might be, but no such luck. However, Pokes did tend to wander by our Wi-Fi-enabled hotels every night, so we got our fix.

We visited the Crazy Horse Memorial again, and estimated among ourselves that it’s going to take another 180 years to complete. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about that whole institution. Crazy Horse was a badass whose story and memory I like very much, and having a work of art dedicated to him seems pretty great. And as a work of art, the sculpture is shaping up to be awesome; certainly the smaller models of what it will supposedly look like in another two centuries or so are wonderful.

But the concerns of some of the Lakota about carving up the Black Hills like that seem totally legitimate. And this whole “Indian Museum of North America” kinda sets my teeth on edge.

Of course I’m not a Native American to any degree whatsoever, and know shamefully little about their various cultures, so I can only imagine how any one of them might feel about all of this. And I’m having a hard time coming up with an analogy in my own life, given my religion of art-worship. What if someone took a work of art I essentially considered sacred, destroyed its functionality as a work of art, and dedicated the resulting piece of trash, in all sincerity, to the original artist? I’m not sure how that could be accomplished, but the idea is certainly unsettling.

And walking through the museum at that location was kinda creepy. Because usually I see that sort of display relating to people that died thousands of years ago, not people that are still around today, possibly just a few miles off living in conditions of inconceivable poverty, oppression, and neglect. Yes, I know the purpose of the place is to educate visitors about various local tribes, but in practice the museum seems to relegate them to a quaint and interesting relic of a distant past, to further hasten an already abused people into obscurity and destruction.

I came away from the Memorial with very mixed feelings, most of them negative. I love the face that’s up there, which has been completed in beautiful detail since the last time I saw it — I’m just not sure it should be up there.

So everybody that lives on this planet informed me that we absolutely must drive through Bear Country USA while in South Dakota, and they were right. So much badass bears. My favorite part was when one ambled up and started gently chewing on the bumper of the car in front of us.

Actually my favorite part was Hiko Leeko. He was an exceptionally good boy for the entire trip, sitting or sleeping peacefully either on my lap or brother’s lap or his little bed in the middle seat, and sometimes looking out the windows. And he happened to be sleeping peacefully on his little bed in the middle seat when we entered Bear Country.

We ooh’d and ahh’d over the animals we could see, and then got into the bear section near the end where we were delighted with how many bears there were and how interesting and active they were and how one of them was biting the car in front of us.

So then this speaker outside somewhere comes on, and a muffled man’s voice is saying something unintelligible but clearly unrelated to us — and this wakes Beeks right up. So he gets up to look out the window, and he freaks out. He starts barking and barking and barking at the bears that are all around us, but more than that, he’s talking to the bears.

He has this hilarious way of talking to things he wants to get at that are out of his reach. Yeah, he barks too, but the talking is a distinctly different — and incredibly funny — sound that I’ve long wished I could get a recording of. Mom tried to record him in the car talking at the bears, but didn’t manage to start the recording until all the bears were out of sight and only some antelope or something were left for him to talk to.

Anyway, we were all laughing ourselves sick and sore over this, and Hiko was super energized and excited. We imagined him coming home and telling his best friend Galileo all about the trip, and getting to this part like, “And I told those bears…” and Galileo being like, Yeah, right..

There’s a pretty fun tiny little zoo at the end of Bear Country, but it was a billion and a half degrees so not a lot of time could be spent in it. I did take a selfie with a cute raccoon, though:

Mt. Rushmore was awesome, though Teddy still seems out of place. I’m always interested to note that the bigger a work of art is — the more firm in its place (both physically and in the history of such art) and able to speak for itself — the more vaguely-related commercialized bullshit and rigmarole seems to gather around it. But the onsite ice cream was good.

One time there was a bison walking so close beside the road as we drove by!!

OK, so. Twenty years ago, on our way to South Dakota, we drove past Carhenge in Nebraska, and everybody in the car went, OH MY GOSH WHAT IS THAT STOP, DAD, NEED PICTURES NOOOOWWWW. And dad said, “We’ll stop there on the way back,” and kept driving.

And then we took a different route on the way home.

Two decades later, none of us, I think, had ever forgiven dad for that XD I was especially annoyed when, during my visit to actual Stonehenge, the tour guide showed a picture of Carhenge and I couldn’t say I’d been there. So this time you can be damn sure Carhenge was specifically planned for.

I thought it would have been super cool to get pictures at Carhenge set up just like the ones at Stonehenge, but logistically it would have been extremely difficult if not impossible. Atmospheric conditions were nearly the precise opposite, and I had a little dog pulling at my wrist, among other things. Ah, well.

At one hotel, whilst out walking Deeks, I came upon these rocks huddled under a drainpipe for shelter:

And another hotel room had the most oddly placed Jacuzzi tub. It was immediately inside the door. Not in the bathroom, which had a separate, normal-sized tub, but in the little entry area in full view of the first of the two rooms and anyone coming through the door. It didn’t even have a curtain. Here’s a picture I took while standing in the room’s open door:

This was the same hotel whose desk attendant looked at me with bemused blankness, as if he’d never in all his days heard such a request, when I asked for some extra blankets.

Whilst driving at length between interesting places, I worked on Aku Soku Zan(za), and made some decent progress despite a distracting audiobook playing in the car and the impossibility of drowning it out with music on headphones. Why, you may ask, didn’t I just listen to the audiobook? I’ll tell you.

Some years ago, I gave mom Howl’s Moving Castle, and eventually (like maybe a year ago) she finally listened to it. And she fell madly in love with it, and now she listens to it all the freaking time. I don’t think I’ve gotten her to listen to a single new book since then, ’cause she puts Howl’s Moving Castle (and sometimes its so-called sequels) in between, like, everything else she reads.

So guess what we were listening to in the car -__- I love Howl’s Moving Castle, but I am getting a little tired of it, so I played a bit with Zanza and Tokio instead.

The trip overall was a lot of fun. Now I can attempt to get back into the swing of real life!! Gotta amend my weekend to-work-on list, since I’m off ASZz now and need to rotate onward to HR.

Monaco Royal Baptism

A while back, the Prince of Monaco’s twin children were baptized. One of the songs at the ceremony was written by my mother. It was not performed well — you’d think royalty could get a better choir/director to do justice to my mom’s awesome song, but I suppose Catholics will be Catholics — but it’s still kinda badass that this happened at all. I dug through the TV coverage of the event and cropped it down to the relevant part… starting a bit earlier than the song because I liked hearing the announcer mention my mom, even if I don’t speak French :D

Once forgotten, twice removed love will be the death of you

I have been so freaking productive over the last few days. I love being unemployed really wish that clinic would call already and let me know whether they want to hire me or not. In the meantime, I have been so freaking productive over the last few days.

For anyone looking forward to Guest Room Soap Opera (nobody is looking forward to Guest Room Soap Opera), plans have changed a little bit. I decided I felt better about the story with numbered parts ala longer HoH stories than with starred scenes as in the shorter ones, even though this is a shorter one and only has four parts. And because of that, I will spread out the posting rather than putting it all on one day as I was originally planning. That will start Wednesday! This is a source of great excitement to me.

OK, I need to get back to my attempt at getting rid of all these pictures I always take of things that amuse me and then never do anything with. If I ruthlessly start at the beginning and just post all of the damn things a few at a time, that should work, right?

Look at these super freaking adorable cute chocolates!! They didn’t taste very good, but that was fine because I get to keep the memory of their visual sweetness far longer than their flavor in any case.

Obviously this is from my dry-cleaning days. It might even be from two phones ago. Seriously what is wrong with me. Anyway, this is really only funny to YTP aficionados, and possibly not even to most of them. “I’m Dr. Rabbit, the world’s only rabbit rabbit rabbit designs.”

That’s enough picturage for now. I will post more tomorrow SOMEBODY HOLD ME TO POSTING MORE TOMORROW.

Last night my mother had a gathering of LDS people (who attend a class she teaches) to eat ice cream and play games. And since they were playing my two favorite games of all (and freaking eating ice cream, obviously), I joined them despite being the black sheep.

One of the games was Telestrations, though mom had put together booklets with LDS-themed phrases rather than using the cards from the game. I mention this only because I need to make a lasting note of a couple of them: “Earth with her ten thousand flowers” turned into “grandma’s playing poker with her invisible friends again,” and “2,000 stripling warriors” became “clap if you believe in fairies to save Tinker Bell’s life.”

Day 5/8

Happy New Year!

I knew that if I got started with the New Year’s Eve festivities, I would not end up making an entry at all yesterday, so I took my tie picture in the early afternoon… and then still completely forgot to make an entry. Silleh.

So that’s yesterday’s tie. We’ll see if I get a picture of today’s tie before today is over. Anyway, we had our usual New Year’s Eve fun last night, and it was great. Yay!

I have been quite HoH-productive on this break. As previously, I haven’t really worked on any other story, but that’s OK. I did kinda want to solve my TLY problem before break was over, but it’s clear that this is not going to happen. One of these days…

The plan for New Year’s Day, as I believe I mentioned before, is for brother and I to watch a bunch of movies. Of course he has to get out of bed first, but I suppose that must happen eventually. Speaking of brother, here is a tale of previous times:

Every year, brother and I make sugar cookies and listen to the Worst CD Evar. OK, well, we like to do that at some point during the Christmas season; I don’t think we’ve actually done it every year. This year, despite being really busy, we did manage it. We used some cookie cutters Zombie Girl gave me at some point, and made a whole new array of hilariously ugly shapes. Laughing extremely hard (and not just at the WCE) is part of the point of this thing.

Mom, as usual, was not happy about the Worst CD Evar… she always comes in and complains about it, and also about the presence of cookies when she is on a diet. But we nevertheless made the cookies. And here is an excessive number of pictures of them!!

Day 3/8

Well, today I have not worn a tie, and I suspect the same thing will happen next Sunday. I often don’t get dressed at all on Sundays, and I can’t even regret that XD

So I’m watching the Broncos defeat the embarrassing Raiders and playing Super Lesbian Horse RPG… it’s kinda weird to be watching football without doing homework at the same time, which has been the standard for the last several months.

This has been a fabulous break so far. I’ve gotten some good solid progress made on Confy, though I haven’t worked on any other story yet. I’ve been enjoying the hell right out of sleeping in, you may well believe. I should be relatively human by the time I have to go back to school a week from tomorrow.

All right, time to start catching up on stuff. First off, the story of Thanksgiving. Once upon a time, my mom’s redneck dad had a stroke, which left him in a state of no longer being able to collect redneck junk and fill his garage and yards with redneck junk and mess around with his redneck junk. So eventually, the family decided to get together and clean out the garage and the yards of all the redneck junk. One uncle was renting a big dumpster item to put stuff into, and many family members were traveling from their towns of residence to grandma and grandpa’s town to assist in this endeavor.

Brother and I, as I may have mentioned, were not able both to get the same days off in order to accompany my parents to grandparent land to help with this. Brother was chosen to go and I to stay since brother has muscles that could help with lifting and carrying things. Everything was set.

Only then, randomly and for no actual reason I ever heard, uncle called the whole thing off at the last minute. Canceled the dumpster and told everyone they’d just do it some other time. Despite the fact that PEOPLE WERE DRIVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR THIS.

Mom and dad couldn’t very well cancel going at that point (this was, like, the day before Thanksgiving) since grandma was counting on feeding them Thanksgiving dinner and would have cried if they’d not shown up. But since brother’s muscles were no longer needed for what had previously been the entire point of the trip, he decided to stay home with me.

As I said before, I worked on Thanksgiving, sat around writing fanfiction and getting paid overtime for it. Then I went home, and brother and I ate junk food and watched movies (and some BSSM episodes) for literally twelve hours straight. And I had homework to do on Thanksgiving; did I mention that? It was extremely irritating. I was so not into it that the assignment took me seven hours.

Saturday after Thanksgiving, I got my hair cut. It’s longer now than it’s ever been in my life, and the gal trimming the ends actually asked me to stand up out of the chair so she could get at them; that’s never happened before :D I had her shave the horrible little bits off the bottom in back because they’re such a pain to tuck under a surgical cap in preparation for surgery. I intended then to go home and touch up my dye and take a shower, but this was not to be.

My parents texted me on my way home from the haircut, saying that they’d run over some random piece of metal that had fallen off a truck or something, damaged the engine of their car, and were sitting at the side of the road waiting for a tow into the nearest town. I might, they informed me, need to drive up to that town and rescue them. So I sat around for the next few hours waiting for word on that. Eventually they let me know that they were staying in a hotel that night, but by then it was too late to take a shower, so I went to bed with little shavey bits of hair all over my neck and back.

I was awakened next morning by my mother calling to request I go rescue them, since Silverthorne, where they were, has pretty well nothing at all open on Sundays so there was no chance of a rental car just yet. So, gross from having put off showering and still covered in little shavey bits, I drove the two and a half hours it takes to get up there, picked up my parents, and drove two and a half hours back.

The interesting thing about this is that if brother and I had, as originally planned, both gone with them to grandparent land to help with the stupid cleanup that got canceled anyway, there would have been nobody to rescue us; we’d all have been stuck in Silverthorne until Monday, and I would have missed my Monday class and lost all sorts of points at school because of it. So there is destiny for you.

We had a real family Thanksgiving the following Sunday, put up our Christmas decorations and watched the traditional movies, so everything was good. Oh, and I did eventually get to take a shower, too :D

With a desperate desire and a resolute endeavor

The fire is up to 15,000 acres, is still at 0% containment, and has set a record by destroying 360 homes so far. (There are actually three fires going on right now; it’s not unusual for us to have a few fires in the area at any given time. The one I’ve mentioned is the one that’s closest to me, the biggest, the most residential, and the least contained.) My mom has had news turned on about this since it started on Monday, and I fear she’s only making herself feel bad to no good purpose.

In less fiery news, I dreamed I was at Disneyland. This time, it seems, I’d gone on some rides but not all of them — especially not the all-important PotC ride, which my dreams seem to regard as a sort of Disneyland Mecca. Apparently I was not just at Disneyland, but generally hanging out in Orange County. There was this gal a little younger than me, fun and nice and cute, who invited me to a party on the last evening I was going to be there.

I thought it would be kinda fun to go because she was a little flirtatious… but at the same time, I thought she didn’t really mean to be flirtatious and probably wasn’t actually interested in teh ladies. Plus I personally am extremely bad at flirting. Also, party? Ugh. So, though I was tempted, I decided instead to go back to Disneyland to ride the other rides I needed to ride.

Seriously. It’s not that I object to these dreams. It’s just so bizarre that I have them so regularly. Turning down a nice and flirtatious girl’s invitation because I want to ride Pirate of the Caribbean? I can’t figure out my subconscious. And the big question still remains: will these dreams change if I actually go to Disneyland again at some point?

Back in real life, I’ve reached linear completion on ASZz chapter 27. Sunday is my tentative posting day for that.