May 31, 2016

Now Playing: The Black Skirts


How odd is it that I had no clue there was a big indie scene in Korea? I am just discovering it now and I feel like a kid in a candy store, picking things here and there that I like and filling it up in my happy little basket to keep and enjoy.

I happened upon a video that was uploaded on Guckkasten's Facebook page - an old video from 2009 where they played an acoustic version of one of their songs and in the very end they had a short cover of this song by The Black Skirts called "Jo Ah Hae Jo (Like Me)". It was only a few seconds but it was so good that I had to dig around and get my hands on the original song. It was definitely playing on repeat several times during the Memorial Day weekend.

May 30, 2016

Capital Crescent Trail






There is a trail in Bethesda called Capital Crescent Trail that leads to Georgetown - it's about 10 miles long. It's a beautiful trail and families, friends, couples, dogs and children can all enjoy it.

A long time ago when we first moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, from New York we used to hang out in Bethesda every weekend. We once rented bikes and hit the trail, and while we didn't intend to go all the way to Georgetown, we ended up feeling pretty fit to just go the distance and biked all the there and back - 20 miles round trip. 

The scenery is beautiful and there is one area where there is a body of water -- Rock Creek maybe? When we biked there, I remember stopping to take a rest and thinking how it would be nice to come here with Piri.

We never did get a chance to. Moving out to Virginia, we hardly go to Maryland anymore. 

On Saturday we were supposed to head out to DC to hang out and grab some of our favorite pop and gelato but the Memorial Day weekend traffic ended up being a bit too much and so we made a last minute change on our navigation and headed to Bethesda for old times sake. We had lunch and window shopped and hit the trail with Piri. 

We weren't going to make it to that body of water that I wanted to show Piri let alone all the way to Georgetown - it was too hot and we didn't have proper shoes to walk that far. But I still like to.

So one day. When the weather cools down, we promised Piri that we'll take him, even if it takes the whole day. 

Memorial Day


Thanking the women, men and canines who served this Memorial Day.

May 27, 2016

Taking stock + the weekend


What do you have planned for the weekend? 

It's a 3-day weekend for us as it's Memorial Day on Monday. We don't have much planned other than trying to get some sightseeing under our belt with Piri and spending time with friends. I also plan on getting pampered a little {mani for me and pedis for my girlfriends}. Haven't done that in... I can't remember. I didn't even get one more for my wedding because I was too busy running around taking care of things. 

Anyway, I'm currently -- 

READING // Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo 

LISTENING // Really. Other than Guckkasten, Mood Indigo by Cheeze

WATCHING // The Sixties (CNN Original Series) on Netflix

PLAYING // With pom pom makers

WEARING // Flowy dresses and cheap $11 sunnies from Target. 

PINNING // Boho wear

HOPING // That squirrels and other critters will leave our flowers and vegetables alone 

ANTICIPATING // Piri's next oncologist appointment {we'll check to see if his cancer has spread}

COOKING // Steak dishes for Piri and fish dishes for us

WANTING // Adidas superstars {college faves along with Pumas and Vans - oh the memories} and Birks {I have worn these nonstop since high school {which were oddly super popular in my town} but stopped when they became a thing. Really, you can see here, herehere, here, and here!}






Have a wonderful weekend!

Guckkasten


I raved about them before here

Guckkasten is going on a tour soon in Korea - Seoul, Busan, Kwang Ju, Dae Gu and Dae Jeon. They're also going to France as well and have been (and continue to) perform at rock festivals in different cities throughout the summer. 

The point is - I wish I could go!

I found out about Guckkasten late {only recently that is} but their music is pretty darn great {and the covers they have done on music variety shows is good too}. And while my Korean isn't that great, I find myself trying to read as many articles I can about them {sometimes making Yangkyu translate for me - I also force him to watch Youtube videos and check their Instagram feed together} and deciphering their lyrics as well.

Here is an English language review of their music if you're interested in getting to know them.

I've heard that their live performances are just mindblowing.

Seriously, can I just go please?

The only concert I've been to in my life was when YB {another Korean rock band} came to NYC in 2006. That was pretty awesome and I still remember the feeling today. I wish I knew Guckkasten earlier because I would've literally hauled my butt to SXSW when they performed with others during K-pop Night Out at Elysium in 2013.

I used to listen to Phish, Radiohead, The Cure, Everclear, Green Day, Gin Blossoms and also had some Grateful Dead, Sonic Youth, Indigo Girls on my playlist as well. But slowly I began to just lose interest. Ever since learning about this band, I've come to appreciate again, this genre of music and bands again. And man does it feel good. 

Bizarre Love Triangle


Yangkyu recently made a quick trip up to New York to see his family, visit his parents' resting place and also catch up with a few friends as well. While meeting his sister she told him how Michelle, her daughter, his niece, said, "I think Jane eemo {aunt in Korean} likes Piri more than Yangkyu samchon {uncle}." 

When he told me this I cracked up! 

We may have a bizarre love triangle thing going on here guys -- 

I like Piri more than Yangkyu. 
Piri likes Yangkyu more than me. 
Which makes Yangkyu having to like me more than Piri. 

And well... now that I think about it, perhaps it's not a love triangle after all

Ha.

May 23, 2016

Sometimes

A couple of days ago, Piri didn't have such a good day.

He woke up and paced around at 4 am and I realized he was heaving, trying to throw up.

I ran and grabbed a wee wee pad to catch his vomit.

I have gotten quite good at doing this since his cancer diagnosis.

If running and grabbing wee wee pads to catch your pet's vomit was an Olympic sport, I might really have a shot at winning the gold medal.

The following day and a half Piri didn't eat and had trouble drinking water.

We couldn't give him sub-q fluids or any of his other oral medications.

Things didn't look too good.

It was sad and gloomy in our house other than two very cheerful cockapoo guests who brought some sunshine to our day.

I saw Piri sleeping in his bed, his body so thin from old age and kidney disease and cancer.

This is not the Piri I remember, but in the distant future, I will always remember all of Piri, from when he was a rambunctious puppy to even now. Old and sick.

Sometimes there are days when I can't bear the thought of not having Piri in my life.

It's a painful feeling I can't quite describe.

But sometimes there are also days when everything is clear and I have this unexplained courage to be able to say good-bye, should that day ever come.

I have no regrets and death doesn't seem so scary.

It's probably one of the most oddest feeling I have ever felt.

When the feeling first overcame me, I almost felt bad. Bad that maybe Piri would take it the wrong way.

But still, most days I don't think I am ready or know how to be ready.

People tell me I will know. That Piri will guide me and tell me.

What if I miss his signs?

What if I don't know.

Happiness is


A bed full of sleeping dogs.

May 20, 2016

Dying at any age is hard


Piri didn't have a very good night last night. He got up multiple times and just coughed and walked around as if he was uncomfortable. I got up too, multiple times, throughout the night and slept next to him on the floor, gently petting him back to sleep. He had coughing issues in the past and we had it checked out with the cardiologist who said it wasn't anything too alarming. I'm not sure if last night's cough (and he's had bouts of coughing a couple of nights this past week) is something he's had already or if his cancer has now spread to his lymph nodes or lungs. His breathing is different now - the shallow sounding breathing - and so now I'm back to worrying again, looking things up on the Internet and silently freaking out. 

I'm so thankful that Piri is here but caring for a senior dog with cancer and kidney disease can, no is, a lot of work. I know we can't beat Piri's cancer. It's an un-winnable fight. What we're doing with his treatment is trying to slow the progression so we can buy some more time to be with him. But, because there have been so many other times where he beat the odds to come back, I thought deep inside that maybe we can win this. That he'll prove everybody wrong again. 

After last night, my hopes dashed just a bit. 


Taking in a dog means it's a promise to be with them until the end. I look back on how lucky we have been that things happened in our lives that complemented Piri's aging. We bought a house with a nice backyard just when it was getting slightly harder to go on walks all the time. I had quit my job and started DogVacay at home right when Piri needed someone to look after him more. I truly feel blessed that I can stay with him all the time to prepare his food, make sure he's not stressed being home alone and not have to worry about whether he's had an accident and is bewildered and confused. I know it's not that convenient for everyone and unfortunately in some cases many dogs are given up and abandoned during the years they need their human companions the most - when they are old and sick. But really, taking in a dog means it's a promise to be with them until the very end. Not just when they fit conveniently into our lives. 

And while I do find us in a fortunate situation, it's hard when people write it off as "you have it so easy" or "you have it so lucky." We do. But our dog still has cancer. He is also battling kidney disease. We are on borrowed time. My time is literally spent caring for him round the clock. I chose to do this, yes. But it's not something where I get to enjoy bon bons on the side. It's stressful. I lose sleep. I still have my work caring or guest pups who all have their needs. I still have things to take care of around the house. It feels like I'm working and taking care of things non-stop for 24 hours. Sometimes I don't shower or look put together for days. It's tiring. It's heartbreaking. But I'm not complaining. I chose to do this but it's definitely not easy.


But of all the things that is hardest to hear is "Piri is old - he's 17. You should feel lucky that he's lived until 17." I hear this all the time, even at the vet's office or at the oncologist's office. 

This doesn't make him dying any easier. 

I know we are lucky that he's lived until 17 and I hope everyone will get to enjoy being with their dogs well into their senior years. But just because he's lived this long doesn't make him dying less painful or ok. 

Dying at any age is just so heart wrenching to see. 

Well intentioned thoughts and condolences I am sure, but please remember this the next time you want to reach out to someone who's is spending their last moments with their beloved senior companion.

Dying at any age is hard. 

May 19, 2016

Finally a book to keep me up at night


You guys. I finally found a book that is keeping me interested page after page. For the first time in so many years {I can't even count because it's been so long} I found myself reading a book to sleep {no more Netflix!} and even though my eyes were getting sleepy I was trying to squeeze in one more chapter, one more page to get closer to the storyline.

This is my first time reading a book by Murakami Haruki. I picked it up randomly at a bookstore and started to read it yesterday. It's good. After I am done, I want to pick up more of his novels and give them a go. 

Man this is the feeling I've been longing to find. Please stick around?

May 18, 2016

I like this life with you // 007





























"Come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned." 
 -- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

May 17, 2016

Where did the day go?


I just made myself a cup of hot tea -- a couple of slices of lemon and ginger with manuka honey. The entire day today I've been coughing and sneezing and feeling quite miserable with a stomach ache. 

It's 9:50 pm and I finally have some time in front of the computer to write. This isn't the blog post I had intended to write at 10 am before being pulled away to do something and then at 2 pm before I had to run and take care of something else and then at 4 pm which again I was pulled, in probably two directions this time, to do something I have no recollection of.

I am thinking of lot of different things tonight. 

Like how do people do it? Moms, moms of multiple children, moms of children and fur children. I have a dogsitting business which sometimes feels like a 24 hour job and am caring for a senior dog with medical needs {which sometimes feels like a never ending responsibility as well} but after that I am zapped. I have no energy for anything - I can't find joy in knitting or sewing or reading. Heck, I don't even have the energy to cook meals for me and Yangkyu, especially on days when I am making several meals a day for Piri because he has lost his appetite. Four rounds of making something for the dog and doing dishes for as many times and I kind of never want to touch the frying pan or see my kitchen sink for the rest of the day. Maybe a week. 

How on earth do people do it? 

Baby talk. 

I've been slowly bringing up the subject of not trying anymore. I came across articles of couples who have moved on after years of infertility to accept and move on and still be happy.

I don't think I will live an unhappy life if we don't have kids. But I am afraid that I will still feel terribly sad and lonely among friends who all have growing kids and {rightfully so} the only thing they will talk about is everything baby. I will silently nod and try to find a way to contribute to the conversation yet know that I have nothing to say to add value. And of course, I am afraid that I may feel angry still every time I see birth announcements or mile stones. Those will never end.

I told Yangkyu that if it was just us, somewhere far away, with a bunch of dogs on a farm, away from people, I think I will be ok with not having kids. 

Ha.

But really. I think it hit me after feeling so zapped while caring for Piri lately. I keep thinking in the back of my mind - what if I had a baby this whole time. Would I still have been able to care for Piri this way? I hear from people who say they would've done the same thing I am doing for Piri if they didn't have kids. How they were the same way before their kids came along. As if their dog was now just a dog and not a life worth fighting for because their kids had bigger needs. I thought that to be cruel and I don't ever want to be those kinds of people. I don't judge them. I realize that having a baby changes things in a way people can't even imagine and some things just change. Naturally. Inevitably.

And to be honest, the thought of a commitment in raising a child for the next 20 years of my life seemed really daunting, especially at my age. I'll be 38 in December. If I were to have a baby now, by the time she turns 20 I'll be 58.

Damn. 58.

So I told Yangkyu. Maybe we should just stop trying and live a life we were meant to live. Why go through this torture month after month?

Maybe we were meant to live our life with dogs and give our hearts to animals. We could do that and feel just as fulfilled. We could also do things we couldn't do before, like traveling. During our twenties we were too broke to travel. In our thirties we were too busy to travel. It would be nice to finally go to Korea and Japan and places in Europe we've been always wanting to visit. Just us two. In our own little bubble.

But man. How do you just stop and accept and move on?

Sometimes the answer is clear as day and most other days the answer is just a big dark black hole.

Collecting things.

After trying to go as minimal as possible, I realized I've stopped collecting things. Mainly because of dust. I can't stand dust. And so I got rid of a lot of things I collected - figurines, books, my old CD and DVD collection. They were just taking up unnecessary space. But I was browsing through vinyl records today and realized how I'd like to maybe start a vinyl record collection. My love for music is slowly coming back and so starting a vinyl record collection, starting with The Beatles White album, would be nice.

// I loved alternative and punk music in high school and in SAT school, our teacher told us to bring a book or an article and highlight all the hard vocabulary words to ask during class so he can help us memorize them. While everyone brought all different types of classic literature, I brought in the latest album from Radiohead, The Bends. My hobby back then was to read CD jackets from cover to cover. I highlighted words from the lyrics and asked our SAT teacher what they meant. He wasn't impressed. Annoyed really at my choice of literature and brushed off all my questions as unworthy. I later met my SAT school teacher years later, after graduating from college, when I was giving a presentation on immigration policy to a bunch of students at an SAT school. There sat about 20 students, their TAs and my former SAT teacher. After I spoke the teacher came up to me and asked me all sorts of questions pertaining to community organizing and policy and complimented on how I spoke. After a few minutes of speaking to him, and realizing that he didn't remember who I was, I reminded me that I was a former SAT student of his. His eyes lit up and proceeded to say, "Oh really? Where did you go? Harvard? Yale? Princeton?" I said Syracuse and he just answered with a short "Oh." It wasn't a Ivy League. But I stood there in front of him, the girl who used to carry around Radiohead CD jackets to SAT school, and felt proud that I wasn't a product of their Ivy League graduates who didn't have a clue about pertinent social issues affecting their community. I walked away from that presentation feeling smarter and prouder than ever. Thanks, Radiohead. //

The difference between a decade and two decades.

My friend's little sister graduated from Syracuse this past weekend and so she was there walking our old campus and reminiscing the days when we used to be students there. She also pointed out that next year will mark 20 years since becoming freshmen as Syracuse. 20 years from when we first met and become friends. I remember her pointing that out 10 years ago and it was cool. Now it just made me feel really ancient. And it also made me look back at my life and just profoundly reflect on my journey so far. Am I content with where I am? Did I know I would be where I am now?

I began this blog post wondering where my day has gone, but really I guess I'm thinking, where has the last 20 years gone?

May 13, 2016

Essential oils + the weekend


I have always heard about essential oils and Young Living but I was a skeptical bystander. I read a lot of blog posts about people's testimonials and to be honest, it just seemed too good to be true. A little dab of oil that relieves stress and anxiety and muscle soreness and a whole laundry list of other things? Really? A simple as a dab on the wrist and behind the ears?

While I thought essential oils were a good thing I didn't think they were for me or my family. 

That is until Piri got cancer and started to have, what seemed like, respiratory issues. As if Florida didn't give us enough of a headache while we were there, he actually developed the respiratory issue in Key West.

Back home, he was put on an antibiotic that made him have such terrible side effects that lasted for days. He didn't have nasal discharge or any other symptoms that suggested something serious. He is vaccinated for kennel cough and is on monthly heart warm medicine. We just couldn't figure out what it was - these sounds he made through his nose that resembled a whistle or a tiny toot horn. I thought maybe something was stuck inside his nasal passage and I was hoping he would sneeze it out.

Our vet suggested we put him on another kind of antibiotic, which he was on previously for something else and did well on - Clamavox - but I just couldn't put him through another round of medications, after what he had been through with Zirthromax and everything else he's on for the long-term.

And so I looked for other options.

A fellow dog person on Instagram suggested we try spirulina supplement which, among other benefits, strengthens the immune system. We immediately purchased that and put him on it. He's iffy with it but has been eating it more than not. I also came across the benefits of essential oils for pets, in particular Frankincense and how it can help with the immune system but may also have cancer fighting properties. 

Whether it sounded skeptical or not, I was willing to try it. With him, I'm willing to try just about anything to help him feel better as he goes through and tries to find stability in this part of his life's journey with cancer and kidney disease.

I read about different ways to use essentials {which should be carefully considered for people, but especially for pets} - topical, oral and diffusing. I decided diffusing would be best for Piri. Signing up for a membership and purchasing the starter kit ended up being most cost efficient than just buying the diffuser and Frankincense alone. Through the start kit we would be receiving a bunch of other essential oils, including what we had originally wanted to try, Frankincense.

We have been using it on and off for a couple of weeks now. I can't say that I've noticed significant improvements although the whistling and toot horn noise is gone, but it's been replaced by something that now sounds like shallow breathing or breathing with something that is blocking one of his nostrils. Something like when we have a cold or a stuffy nose.

We will continue to use it though. I have also started to diffuse lemon, which has a lovely fragrance and helps clear up the air.

The essential oil diffuser sits in our living room and at night in our bedroom we have our humidifier on. We hope this combination will continue to be beneficial for Piri and to us as well.


What do you have planned for the weekend?

We have a dog guest at Piri's Place and so much of our attention will be spent on playing and caring {and spoiling} him. There is also a terribly outdated Netflix DVD we have, Les Miserable, that we should probably watch and return so we can move on with our queue. I also need to catch up on VEEP and Sundays are dedicated to watching a Korean show called King of Masked Singer. I also received a clean out bag from ThredUp and will likely do another purge of my closet.

Have a great one friends!

May 12, 2016

#chewyboxlove




We're Chewy addicts.

Every so often we are ordering a box full of things - for Piri and for Piri's Place. The website has such a great selection of quality dog food, treats, supplies and more, their prices are great, their customer service is amazing, they offer 2-day shipping and it's free when you purchase $50 or more. Sometimes it feels like our Chewy box comes within a day (we did a late night ordering, then our order was processed the next morning and our box arrived at our door step the following day). 

All of Piri's supplements are purchased through chewy.com along with his treats, treats for our DogVacay guest dogs and our favorite grooming wipes, which we order at least 3 every time we are ordering something on Chewy (gotta keep everyone's paws and wee wee and potty areas clean!). 

We've also been experiencing with new dry food for Piri - something that is lower in phosphorus because of kidney disease but also something that's good quality. We tried Wysong senior, which had a good run (dogs with kidney disease and cancer get sick of certain types of food easily), and will now try out FirstMate Senior Pacific Ocean Fish Meal. Dry food isn't his main meal but we like to have it out in case he wants to nibble on something if he's feeling a little hungry between full meals.

From time to time, we will still head out to Petco, Petsmart and Wylie Wagg because shopping for dog products at an actual store is just as fun as clicking through online. But chewy.com really is so very convenient for us. 

Here are some of our favorites: 
 // Natural Balance Dental Chews (duck meal formula)
 // Earth Rated poopbags (pantry pack)

We're expecting our latest Chewy box to arrive today. Woot woot.

Where do you shop for your pets? And what are their favorites?


(I don't think I have to write this but just in case -- this post wasn't sponsored. We just really love Chewy!)

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