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.”