Bitey and Birthday

The older I get, the more difficult it becomes to remember to start my birthday countdown. It should have started on July 27th this year! Right now I’m putting an entry on the calendar for July 26th of next year so I won’t forget again! Because this shit is important, yo.

Anyway, today it is 29 days until I turn 37. In unrelated news, I got bitten three or four times by a 130lb great Dane named Ludvig last week.

Here are some pictures that aren’t very bloody.

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.

Recently I was doing vaccines, and the next animal in line was a miniature schnauzer named Puff. So of course, as I’m drawing up the vaccine, I’m singing, “Puff the mini schnauzer came in my room,” and thinking of the owner as Little Jackie Paper. I did at least manage to refrain from using that name when I went to call dog and owner in.

So here comes Puff the mini schnauzer, who is (like every mini schnauzer) one of the cutest dogs that ever lived with his tininess and adorable schnauzer shave and the printed flannel blanket his owner has him wrapped in and his itty bitty wagging tail and pink tongue. And Little Jackie Paper?

Little Jackie Paper is the most gangsta-looking guy I have ever seen. Seriously. I can’t name every aspect of the stereotype in retrospect, but he had them all. There were chains and… yeah, I forget what else.

And he so clearly adored this dog, and had the paperwork and the puppy vaccine booklet and everything; he was the epitome of a caring and conscientious owner. He even listened attentively to everything I had to say about vaccine schedule signs of bad reaction.

I like to think I don’t have a lot of blindly preconceived notions about people of other lifestyles, but the fact that I was enough struck to want to write about this in my journal is evidence that there’s something going on in my head. But at this point, any prejudices I may have had about that type of person must have been thoroughly shaken.

Also at work recently, I was trying to put a cat back into her kennel after surgery. Our cats (understandably) often wake up really crazy, and this was not one of the rare exceptions. She had all her legs splayed out madly, and her whole body was really stiff, so her entire angle was bad for getting her into a square opening.

Then all of a sudden she kicked off the edge of the kennel, did a back-flip over my arm, and caught me right in the mouth with one clawy paw. She cut my cheek, my upper lip in two spots and lower in one, and two gum locations, then fell on the floor. It happened so quickly and unexpectedly that both I and the co-worker in the room (our cat lady) were stunned and disbelieving, and today my lip still hurts.

Watch this video, if you want:

Coheed and Cambria has been one of my favorite bands for several years, and I don’t remember whether I mentioned my great happiness or how excellently they performed when I saw them in concert last summer. I really love them.

And not long ago I watched the above video for the first time, and found another, huge reason to love them.

No matter how society is changing, I still feel, most of the time, as if the bulk of it is ranged against me as a lesbian. I feel as if just being open about who I am — being myself — in public is an act of defiance, which is sometimes a bit wearing for a shy and non-confrontational person. I assume on a subconscious level that homophobia is the default. I especially make this assumption about male-fronted nerd culture.

It is not fair and it is not kind to make such assumptions about people, but it is, sadly, what I have been conditioned to assume. Even while actively enjoying the artistic products of those outside the immediate circle I consider relatively safe, I’m still very wary of the people involved, and that’s a tragic way to have to interact with other human beings.

Which is one of the reasons it means so damn much to me when I find an ally in an unexpected place.

And maybe CoCam has been a group of allies all along and I just never noticed. I’ve mentioned before how bad I am about actually paying attention to the bands I follow; I rarely even know the names of the members… or, to be honest, how many members there are (unless I have a poster of them on my ceiling or a desktop wallpaper on my computer or something. Which is rare, because looking at a musician is hardly the point, is it?)

But this inattention may have been doing CoCam — or at least Claudio Sanchez — dishonor all this time. Because if they’ve had the wonderful attitude all along that envisions a music video about the formation of a gay relationship portrayed in a positive and totally normal light, I have not appreciated them as much or as well as I should have. I’ve always adored their music and their storytelling, but from now on there’s going to be an extra layer to my appreciation that, perhaps, should have been there all along.

So I’ve cleared 3/15 bookshelf compartments by now, and with great joy and exultation I pulled out all my figures and set them up in one newly empty compartment. They really need two or three to spread out across (or at least another shelf inside the one compartment they’re in), and they’re hilariously cramped and in each other’s faces where they are, but it still makes me really happy to look up and see them there.

OK, let’s have some photos.

One time I was waiting on a tire replacement, and there was a Fascinations across the parking lot. As I walked toward Fascinations, I noticed something on a window sill in front of a model display:

When I got close enough to see exactly what it was, I had to take pictures.

Oh, creepy Christians. Bless your bigoted, unsubtle little hearts. Anyway, instead of becoming a praying wife, I went into Fascinations and bought the greatest purse anyone has ever made:

It appears I never managed to get a less blurry picture of it. But seriously, you guys, this was my favorite purse I’ve ever, ever, ever had. I loved it so damn much. It wore out and broke about a year ago, but for a while it was just pure, spidery heaven to carry around.

And the last picture is, of course, of Seet Bean:

Know what they say? –it’s, “Nothing lasts forever.” Then what makes love the exception?

One day at work I was adjusting a small blood tube in its stopper when it suddenly shattered!! I got a cut on my (dominant pointer) finger that looked like a cute little smile, and blood (mostly mine) aaallll over the third exam room.

Speaking of work, I seem to have crossed some threshold. I’ve had multiple dreams about this job lately, whereas previously I rarely did.

In one, V announced that I was doing all the surgeries that day. At first I was worried because I’m not really sure how they go about ligating the organs — generally if you’re in the room at that point, you’re watching something else — but evidently I figured it out, because I managed one surgery with no problems.

But then something happened that we all had to work on, and I wasn’t able to do any more surgeries for several hours. At about noon, V asked if I was done with all the surgeries yet, and when I told her I wasn’t, she said, “Oh, well, that’s OK.” And I was like, You don’t know just how not-done I am… In real life, ZG described this as a McDonald’s dream not set at McDonald’s XD

In another dream, I went into Safeway looking for a ruler (which I actually need in real life). They had a startling (and unrealistic) number of rulers of different types, and whilst I was looking through them trying to choose one, there was this little cat that needed to be extubated. My blow-torch’s end was warped into an oval shape and didn’t fit the cuff, but Shawna was nearby and let me use hers. I extubated the cat (who was on a shelf on some aisle or other), and it was very sweet.

In a third dream that wasn’t about work but was about cat, Galileo picked up a Guitar Hero guitar and brought it to my brother as if to request instruction on how to play it. Brother remarked that the buttons on the guitar weren’t working very well. BUT SO CUTE a little cat wanting to play Guitar Hero.

And in yet another dream, we were at Disneyland. The slow-moving-gondolas-across-the-park “ride” was there, but it was like a skii-lift in that the front of the gondola was open and people sat in it with their feet dangling and just a lap-bar to hold them in. As a gondola with some childs in passed over brother and me (we were, of course, discussing which rides we wanted to go on that day), one little girl dropped her teddy bear. Somehow, by pure coincidence, it fell perfectly into my hand, so I called up to her that I’d wait for her at the exit to the “ride” to give it back.

Enough about dreams. It occurred to me the other day that the HoH four fit pretty well into the four Hogwarts houses: Heero is a Hufflepuff, Duo is a Gryffindor, Trowa is a Ravenclaw, and Quatre is a Slytherin. ZG wanted to argue Heero and Trowa, but I stand by my original thought, heh. Of course they probably sort differently in other universes.

Note: Loratadine does make me drowsy. It’s great to have a lot of allergies and no practical way around them.

I may have mentioned at some point that I’m trying to replace most of my physical book collection with Kindle books. Of course I keep anything special to me or that I can’t get a Kindle version of, but I’m still getting rid of a lot of books. And no matter how much I remind myself that I never read physical books and that this will clear up much-needed space in my room, it’s still heartrending to get rid of so many lovely books.

OK, the next several pictures in my collection of pictures that need to be posted are of my sweet cat.

She loves to lie on the stereo box beneath the TV, because it gets really warm. Galileo loves that spot too.

And of course, like all cats everywhere, she loves cardboard boxes. If a box is not available, just cardboard, apparently, will do.

Since life is sweet here, we got the beat here, naturally

Since life is sweet here, we got the beat here, naturally

I had a pretty meta McDonald’s dream. Usually my McDonald’s dreams feature my return to the restaurant after all these years and being thrown into things without any training to catch me up on everything that’s changed. Usually I’m trying to run the entire drive-thru by myself and it’s not working very well.

This time, however, I was in the grill area with two other people, and I mentioned to the manager that I’m constantly dreaming about working at McDonald’s but never dream about working in the grill area. I also mentioned that my other job was at a spay/neuter clinic. Bizarrely self-aware!

Of course I’ve continued having Disneyland dreams, and in one of them there was the implication that I might hook up with Saitou at some point. Makes sense, right?

I’m so excited about going to Disneyland that it’s almost completely killed my productivity. Just about the only things I can work on are drawings or editing story recordings. Neither of those is unproductive, but some poor stories are crying out in sorrow. I’ll try to get a productivity log up before I go with some progress shots and such.

So the Super Bowl was, of course, awesome. I bought several snacks to enjoy whilst watching the game, and I painted my nails orange and blue and wore orange socks with my blue jeans and my Broncos shirt. I like to think that helped :D As someone on Facebook put it, it sounded like Independence Day outside after the game; I couldn’t actually see any fireworks, but could definitely hear them going off.

OK, a recent story from work: Dr. V. dropped a Brown-Adson, which fell soundlessly instead of ringing on the floor as a dropped metal instrument usually does. She was trying to figure out where it had gone, and since I’d just walked into surgery at that point I was helping her out (after opening her a new one, of course).

Dr. W. speculated that it had fallen into the drape bucket and landed on cloth, and said we should warn Marge (who does most of the laundry) so it didn’t end up going through the washer and dryer and breaking thems. We were still so curious about where it had gone, however, that we kept looking around for it avidly. And then I saw it:

It had somehow managed to fall just perfectly to catch one of the loose ties of her surgical gown, and had wedged on there so firmly as to not be shaken off during several minutes of looking around for it. We were all quite entertained by this. What are the chances?

OK, now I need to go get ready for Disneyland tomorrow. I will leave you with the usual set of random pictures.

A pair of slippers I bought one time. They were kids’ sized, so I always had to step on the heel part in order to wear them, but they had spiders on. Badass.

Ceiling rainbow!! That I decided to take a picture of, for some reason.


Being a basketbii this time.

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

We were supposed to be in Disneyland this week, but then we got all the snow in the world and our flight was cancelled. You would have seen history’s whiniest post from me here complaining about this, but we were able to reschedule for next week with no problem.

Ever since we came back from Washington, in eager anticipation of Disneyland, I’ve had a Disneyland dream practically every night. I won’t bother giving any details of them, because they’re generally the same… but one thing has shifted slightly ever since we went to Disney World a couple of years back: now, instead of, “Oh, crap, I forgot to go on [some particular ride I like] and now we’re about to leave” (or sometimes even, “Oh, crap, I forgot to go on any rides at all and now we’re about to leave”), it’s, “Oh, crap, I forgot to visit [one particular area of the park] and now we’re about to leave.” Not a major difference, but one I think is somewhat interesting. You can bet I won’t forget anything that’s available next week!

So I was going to go to work all week, but I’ve had two days in a row off because of aforementioned snow. My clinic closes along with a certain school district in town (one that is, incidentally, notorious for never closing, but this storm was srs bsns). Paycheck is going to be a joke again, but whatevs. I like days off.

Brother and I watched the entire first arc of SKU yesterday, which of course was awesome. The new DVD’s (which I’ve finally gotten around to buying) have subtitles that can actually be turned off for the duel songs, which means I can make all those music videos I’ve had planned literally for a decade.

However, they still went with the incredibly bad subtitles from the previous release, because people are shit. In a series this complex, it seems like you would want to exercise greater care with the translation than usual, but what do I know?

Hey, I don’t think I ever mentioned Beeks in the snow since that first time in, like, October. Turns out he is a regular snowdog, and goes bouncing through drifts in the funniest way imaginable (since he’s only, like, a foot and a half tall).

At one point in November when we got our first real accumulation of the season, he went out and jumped around in the snow for so long that I started to get worried and called him back inside. Then he had these little snowbugs all stuck to his entire underside —

–and I had to give him a half-bath to get them off. He looooves the snow. Right now it’s deeper than he is tall in many places, so we’ve had to maintain a snow-shovel path through the yard so he can get to someplace where pooping is an option. He loves his path, and runs along it so adorably, but he also still goes plunging into the drifts where they’re not too deep for him. So so cute.

Here are some more pictures as well:

This tree is outside the vet building at my old school; I used to park in front of it every day. I kinda love it.

TWEEZERS THAT WORK! I adore this type of hilariously straightforward advertising.

And speaking of straightforward, how about, “Muscles?” Not, “Has built-in muscles!” or, “Includes ripped muscles!” or something… just… “Muscles.”

Teach me how to see your vision through my eyes

Hiko had what I believe was his first encounter with snow this past week. He previously lived in Arizona, and I don’t know his history for sure, but he was only about a year and a half old when he came to me, so I think it’s a pretty good bet.

Anyway, he ran excitedly outside like he always does, made a much-truncated excited circle that did not touch the lawn, and came straight back to the door. He gave me this look like, “Hey, something weird happened out here! What’s going on?” He was (and has remained) very interested in attacking the snow on the flagstones, but he flat-out refused to walk on the snow-covered grass XD It was so freaking cute.

So this last week (and, to some extent, the previous week) at work has been insane. Tuesday in particular was appalling. We’re short a person in general at the moment, have one tech that is great and whom we love but who is still in training and therefore has a limited range of tasks she can perform, and one gal out on maternity leave. Then another tech had to take some time off due to a convergence of illness and disaster in his life. Then the trainee called in vomitous. And then another gal sprained her ankle right there at work.

This left three full-time techs, one part-time tech, and the supervisor. I can’t even begin to describe how short-handed that is at a clinic that does 20-30 surgeries every day. I could go on for paragraphs about how difficult and exhausting this was and how absolutely over the week we were before it was even halfway finished, but that’s not actually the point I’m aiming for here.

The thing is, I’ve had other jobs where understaffing and its attendant stress and misery was a regular occurrence –indeed, where understaffing was standard practice, and if you actually had enough employees working at any given moment, you were likely to get in trouble, because even desperately understaffed you were still guaranteed not to make your labor. So I am well accustomed to being understaffed; I am so familiar with this way of life, it wasn’t even a little bit of a surprise to encounter it in this job as well.

But this job is a real job where none of those others were. Despite the fact that I’m making little over minimum wage at this non-profit business, there is such a world of difference between this job and those others that I almost can’t describe it.

At those other places, when things sucked — which was most of the time — there was an atmosphere (unspoken but oppressive) of, What did you expect, working here? Do you really think you, who took this shitty job in the first place, deserve any better than these dehumanizing working conditions? It was consistently depressing and demoralizing.

But at my clinic, we pull together. We have each other’s backs. There is a perpetual atmosphere of empathy and support and the recognition both of everyone’s suffering and of everyone’s contributions. It’s, You guys are badasses, and no other team could have gotten through this craziness as well as you have. Far from making me feel somewhat ill and distinctly depressed at the thought of going to work, this solidarity has actually made me enjoy a stressful and incredibly tiring set of long, hard work days, and look forward to as an almost welcome challenge what at previous jobs has been a barrier to continued employment. This astonishes and gratifies me more than I can express.

I’m still hella tired, though. The weekend ends in about two hours, and I’m not ready XD I’m looking so forward to some time off in December.

Aight, so, in May of 1864, the battle at New Hope Church in Georgia caused the Confederate army severe losses. According to Gone With the Wind, “No one had lost faith in the invincibility of the troops but everyone had lost faith in the General.” Soon thereafter that particular general was replaced.

In World of Warcraft, at the battle of Light’s Hope Chapel, the Scourge sustains heavy losses, and many of the Lich King’s Death Knights are freed from their brainwashing and cease following him. Light’s Hope Chapel thereafter is held by the enemies of the Scourge.

I don’t really think this is anything more than an interesting coincidence — and the similarities between the two battles aren’t even striking enough that I would have noticed if not for the names of the two locations — but it is interesting, isn’t it? When I got to that bit in GWtW, I was like, Huh, that’s kinda cool…! Enough that I had to make note of it here in my journal.

Let’s finish up with some pictures of Hiko, in the bath and then afterwards when he’s all clean. Bizarrely, these are actually pictures from today and yesterday. Yeah, I still have a million pictures to post from previous years, but I should probably try to keep up with what pictures I’m taking these days too XD

Aahh, who is just the cutest little man!!!!!!

No sign of wings as you turn your back on me

So my co-worker Lauri comes to join me scrubbing surgical packs and announces, “I keep burping up my taco pie.”

Says I, “That’s the grossest-sounding phrase I’ve heard in a long time.”

Everyone around us starts laughing, and Lauri, totally missing her own double entendre, starts explaining how she had taco pie for lunch and how she puts beef and onions and this and that and the other thing in there. A little puzzled as to why everyone is laughing even harder, she adds, “Why, what do you like in your tacos?”

“Are you sure you want to know?” I ask in reply.

“Yeah, why not?” Lauri wonders. “What?”

It was like a dumb scene from a sitcom. At this point the nearest co-worker to us was laughing so hard I thought she would fall over, and could not speak coherently. But eventually someone from the other side of the room shouted, “Lauri, you can’t ask a lesbian that!”

“At least it wasn’t fish taco pie,” I said, in order to complete the cliche.

In other work news, I saw the biggest cuterebra I or anyone else at the clinic had ever seen. It was burrowed into the skin on the cranial side of the dog’s scrotal sac, and IT WAS THE SIZE OF EACH OF HIS TESTICLES. Seriously, when I first reached down to palpate his scrotum, I distinctly felt three similarly sized objects and I was like WHY DOES THIS DOG HAVE THREE BALLS. So freaking big.

That’s all for work news. Next item: I just recently finished rereading Moby Dick, and the following book in line was How To Be A Pirate for the first time. Anyone familiar with these two books should be able to see why it was interesting and amusing to go straight from one to the other, but for anyone that hasn’t read them both or doesn’t remember, the reason is as follows:

Moby Dick ends with Ishmael escaping the wrecked and sinking Pequod by floating away in a buoyant coffin. How To Be A Pirate starts out with the ship Hiccup and the other viking boys are on being stove in and sunk by a coffin that strikes it, which they then take back to their island, open, and extract a living man from.

Anyone that’s around here much is undoubtedly aware that I don’t post a lot of book thoughts, because I’m lazy and because it’s not like you can’t find pseudo-reviews of books all over the internet. But it was such a funny coincidence that I happened to read those two books in that order like that, I had to make note of it.

Now some pictures.

It’s Waybee! Sneepin on the couch!

A few years back, we were wandering around Manitou Springs, and we found this large spider. So brother posed in front of it.

Zombie Girl and I were at a grocery store and found this sign. She thought it was uproariously funny and had me take a picture of it to save forever. It is pretty funny.

And speaking of funny labels, I found this one rather morbidly so and had to document it.