October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone. Well... Halloween isn't until tomorrow but you know - just getting an early start over here. 

We got our candy ready and also Piri's costume and I finally updated that chalkboard wall of ours to get into the Halloween groove. Do you like? 

We'll be taking a couple of days off from DogVacay and spending this weekend outdoors. Tomorrow we'll packing up our little hatchback and driving over to Shenandoah to take in all the fall foliage. We haven't been there since 2013 so it'll be nice to go back. I'll have to update all my songs on my phone to listen to on our way there even though I actually end up turning on Disney songs and singing really out of tune. I do this especially when Yangkyu feels a little tired from driving. My amazing awful singing miraculously wakes him up! Haha. 

Tonight we'll be headed over to our friends' house for some dinner and Piri will get to see his friends Mini and Hiro, too. It should be fun. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

 // It's not too late to make these cute Halloween treat bags for your pup and friends! 

 // How about a spooky playlist for some entertainment? 

 // And because it's Miyazaki related. How to eat foods from Miyazaki films. 

October 29, 2015

The last of our vegetables and what's cooking in our kitchen

We have cleaned out our garden and all is left are these danver carrots we've been picking and eating little by little. We have a about half to still harvest. They have grown in all different shapes and sizes - we didn't thin them out too well and so some are thick and long while others are thin and tiny. 

Today I pulled out these guys to add to Piri's home cooked meal to jumpstart his appetite again. He's been going in and out, being iffy and picky, and so I've cooked some chicken and rice porridge and added carrots and asparagus as well. He gobbled it up. I mean licked his bowl clean and got some sticky rice on his nose, too. Perhaps he wanted to save them for later. It was good to see him eat so well, but it also made me wish he was as enthusiastic about his K/D food as he is with rice and chicken. 

We also got dinner going for us as well. It's samgyetang. But instead of using a whole chicken, we are using a a few pieces of organic chicken thighs we picked up at Trader Joe's, and rather than put together all the amazing herbs and spices ourselves, we've bought a packaged one from our local Korean grocery store. It's just in a little pouch that you boil with some water and the aroma that lets out is amazing. While samgyetang itself is tasty, the smell is what I really love. It's earthy and reminds me shigol - or the countryside, and my grandparents' house in Chungju during the holidays.

Our home smells like that right now. I love it. And I love how food can unlock so many forgotten memories. 

Samgyetang is usually food for the summer, but it makes more sense for me to eating it during the fall. 

Today, I've also raked our front and backyards {it was good exercise but at one point I really wish I had a blower} and picked up some yarn to start knitting again. But I realized that instead of starting new projects, I'm going to have to finish that sunburst granny square blanket I started last year. 

Cross my fingers that I can get it done some time soon. 

What's cooking over where you are? Did it unlock any memories from the past? 

October 28, 2015

October Project Color: Brown

It's definitely a creepy feeling to know that we are already into October's Project Color. I still remember back in January when I started this, thinking how in the world am I going to do this every month? It seemed like such a long road to fulfill and here we are already at the end of the 10th month of the year. Can someone please press the slow button? 

We're exploring the color brown this month and I got some of my favorite things to feature - chestnuts, wooden spoons, trusty shoes and soil from our garden that we're getting ready to prepare for the colder winter months. 

Thanks Fee for joining in again! Your photo reminds me that brown can possibly pass for summery color - when it is in a form of a popsicle! 

 // Burntfeather // 

November will be all about the achromatic color white. 

If you'd like to join in, email me one photo at windingridgelane [at] gmail [dot] com that depicts the color white by Friday, November 20. Please send the picture as a cropped square image, otherwise I will crop at my own discretion. Photos should not be smaller than 900x900 px. Along with your picture, please include your name and blog name and url {if applicable}. If you are on Instagram, post your picture using #WRLprojectcolor and I will try and include it in the blog round ups.

 // April Project Color: Green

October 27, 2015

Pet insurance fail for senior dogs

Couple of weeks ago, we noticed that the last few claims we put with Piri's insurance - ASPCA Pet Health Insurance - were denied. They were for his Sub-Q fluids and also a second urine culture to see if the bacteria in his urine was completely gone. The bacteria has been bothering him since the summer and we have been getting reimbursed for these treatments and therapy in the past. 

So what happened? 

I thought it was just a mistake and called ASPCA Pet Health Insurance thinking it would be resolved without any problems. 

Then the first representative I spoke with told me that because our plan with them renewed in September, Piri's kidney disease is now considered pre-existing and can no longer be covered. The same with his bacteria in his urine. If he is to ever get urinary tract infection again he, unfortunately, won't be covered anymore.

I was so shocked and appalled at the same time that I was at a loss for words. I was silent for a few seconds then very angrily asked what their cancellation policy was and that I will be looking around for other options. She said she can connect me with someone at their cancellation department and then told me to have a nice day. 

I think that irritated me even more. Have a nice day? Are you kidding me?

I quickly looked at other pet health insurance options - Healthy Paws and a couple of others - and then a harsh reality set in. If we switch over to a new insurance company then his kidney disease will be considered pre-existing with them as well since he will have had the illness prior to enrollment. Staying with ASPCA and leaving them was a lose lose situation for us. 

I got back on the phone with ASPCA and tried to reason with them. I pleaded with them. I told them that Piri needs ongoing treatment - he needs his fluids twice a week and will need to get his blood and urine tested every few months. And god forbid if an emergency happens we will need his insurance to help with costs. "Is there anything within your plan that will help us? We've been with you for so long." 

The second representative said, "Unfortunately there is nothing we can do for you now. If you had gotten your dog on Continual Care by the time he turned 8 then he could be covered for chronic illnesses and conditions. Your dog isn't eligible to get Continual Care in his policy now because he has aged out." 

So it was our fault in the end, huh. That is how she made me feel regardless of what her intention was. I felt myself choke up - I don't know - I think I was just angry. It's always been a complex of mine. I cry when I get angry. Another complex of mine is I always think of things to say after the fact. 

I realized that we got Piri on ASPCA Pet Health Insurance when he was 10 years old, after he eligible for Continual Care. 

What happens if this is the case? Can we appeal? Is there an exemption or some other option? 

I thought to get on the phone again and try to reason once more but then saw this -- 

Dogs that are over the age of 9 at the time of enrollment just aren't eligible for Continual Care. 
As if I needed more bad news I got an email back from Healthy Paws and they said, "Please know we are unable to cover pets that are 14 years old or older at enrollment." Then she proceeded to say that she was sorry to hear about my pet and that she wishes us the best. 


I know that for us we will somehow manage. We're not rich but we live comfortably enough. Yangkyu hates credit card debt but the only time he is ok with it is when it accumulates due to Piri's medicare care. Insurance has definitely helped. But if they can no longer cover, we will somehow manage. 

This isn't an option for everyone. I feel so angry and screwed over but I look at the entire process of how pet insurance works {or doesn't work for senior pets} and that's what gets me so mad. 

Piri was diagnosed with kidney disease in October 2014. I look back now and realize that was when his plan had just renewed. Everything that happened within the past year - all those vet visits, tests, scares, emergency runs, which amounted to thousands of dollars - were covered. If he was diagnosed even in August of July of last year, that means we would've been only covered for his treatments for a few months before his plan renewed, which would've then classified his illness as pre-existing. Everything that happened the past year would've been paid out of pocket. 

How does this make any sense??

How do you classify an illness as pre-existing once a plan renews? 

All dogs need care, but finding out that pet insurance companies do very little to care for super senior pets that are ailing and need medical attention makes me angry. 

What happens to someone who adopts a senior dog? Or enrolls a dog late in age? All these loopholes and age caps leave little room for elderly pets and their owners to feel that they have support in ensuring their pets get the medical attention they need. 

A friend of ours sent us an article today that breaks down pet insurance for older dogs, which I found to be helpful that I thought I'd share for dog owners. Even if your dog is still young, it's important to think long term. 

Today we'll be looking into Embrace and Pets Best. Even though Piri's kidney disease will be considered existing and won't be covered if we switch over to a new insurance company, we hope to find something that will cover chronic illness should Piri develop some other illness in the future. 

This has just been so upsetting and confusing for me. Each day I learn something new about having a senior pet. Piri is the first dog to live this long and so some of his needs and care is new to me. Some things in retrospect seem obvious but really at the time I wasn't really thinking so far in the future. Perhaps that was a mistake on my part but the penalty just seems too harsh. 

We will somehow manage. But it doesn't matter if we can. 

Pet insurance policy for pets need to be better and more accessible for senior pets. 

October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Carving!

Halloween is just around the corner and so yesterday we got out our knives and carving tools and picked out some pumpkin patterns to carve our pumpkins with. This is our fourth year doing this and the fun of it never gets old {either does the mess!}

Yangkyu and Piri's pumpkins are Jack and Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas and I went with flames. Our favorite is Piri's, of course {last year we carved him Dracula Dog and the year before that a Cocker Spaniel}. 

A little trick we use in carving our pumpkins is tracing the patterns with a push pin. 

Our pumpkins are chilling out back. We put them out front last year but then someone stole one of our pumpkins and then smashed someone else's right in front of our door. Hopefully this year there won't be any stealing or smashing. 

What ghoulish patterns are you carving? 

 // When we were house hunting last year we looked at so many properties and were on the fence with pretty much all of them. Then we saw this backyard and said, "This is it! This is perfect for us and Piri." // 

  // He may turn into a raccoon and float away. Any one get the reference? // 

  // Push pins to the rescue! It's seriously the best way to trace your pattern. // 

  // Yangkyu made it in the picture too. That sly guy. // 

  // We never seem to be able to save these to roast in the oven. // 

  // Bella is our current DogVacay guest. She is a Japanese Spitz and lived in Korea for most of her life. It's funny when she understands some words and phrases we say and also react to Korean dramas of variety shows we have on TV. // 

  // He also loves chestnuts. Eats them like a squirrel. // 

  // I carved Piri's pumpkin this year and Yangkyu touched it up in the end. His is our favorite. Possibly a favorite of all time. // 

  // Piri and his pumpkin. // 

  // Who is the prettiest pumpkin of them all? // 

 // All lit up! // 

Halloween sure better come around quick because we've been gobbling up all the candy we bought for trick or treaters! Today we'll be back to watching AMC's Fright Fest and trying to keep our hands away from the candy jar! 

Happy Halloween everyone! 

October 24, 2015

Out with my crew on an incredibly beautiful fall day in The District

Thursday and Friday were days off for me from Piri's Place and so we decided take the opportunity to go out and spend time together as a family. Yangkyu has always asked me to go with him to his workplace so he can take a half day while I hang out with Piri and afterwards go grab lunch al fresco. I've been tabling this for months and months and months, but on Friday we did just that. 

I woke up a very bushy eyed Piri bright and early and we followed Yangkyu to Clarendon, VA. It's a pretty neighborhood with lots of shops and pedestrian culture, which I love so much. You don't find that a lot in the suburbs where I live unfortunately. 

While Yangkyu worked in the morning, Piri and I walked around and went to the dog park where we met a tan colored Shiba Inu, and went shopping at dog friendly shops - Wylie Wagg, of course, and The Container Store {so very dog friendly!}. I didn't know that The Container Store was actually dog friendly until I called them. It was very nice to be greeted by the sales person who proclaimed, "We love dogs here!" {Here is another helpful list of stores that are dog friendly - but it's always good to call beforehand to make sure}

When Yangkyu was done with work, we grabbed lunch at Whitlow's on Wilson {their fries are amazing} and then we walked a whole lot at and near the Arlington National Cemetery. The last time we were there it was an incredibly hot summer day, which was so difficult for Piri. We also didn't have a stroller for him then and so we about left as soon as we got there. This time though, it was a warm fall day and Piri was able to rest inside his carrier for most of the time while we walked uphill and downhill to different spots within Arlington National Cemetery. We walked around for nearly 3 and a half hours exploring the grounds and also walking over to see the Marine Corp Memorial. 

We ended the day in Dupont Circle, DC and had dinner at Sakana Restaurant -- chicken ramen for Yangkyu and Nabeyaki udon or me. By the evening it was chilly and so it was nice to get something warm in our stomachs. 

By the time we got home we couldn't feel our legs because we had walked so much. Yangkyu's phone pinged to let him know that he had walked over 11,000 steps. 

This morning we woke up a little sore but were thankful to be able to spend time with each other, with Piri, in one of our favorite places, the District.

  // Leaves telling us fall in is full swing. // 
Shoes are from Modcloth {old}

  // My lunch dates. // 

  // Arlington National Cemetery in the fall. // 

  // The Marine Corps Memorial is in close walking distance from the Arlington National Cemetery. I've only seen it in pictures and didn't realize how big it was until seeing it in person. // 

 // This is Piri's 6th picture next to a memorial. We're on a roll in checking them off little by little. // 

  // The Netherlands Carillon is a gift from the people of the Netherlands to the people of the United States. // 

  // Piri's stroller is one of the best pet investments we've made since he reached his super senior stage. It's allowed us to continue spending lots of time outdoors exploring the District, which we appreciate so much. We purchased a stroller with strong wheels. The only downside is the problems with the zipper on the canopy. There are two that enclose from each end, and while one of them works fine, the other is stuck in its position and we haven't been pulling on it to fix it because we're afraid we might break or rip it. The canopy closes just fine with the remaining zipper though. // 

  // That view. So peaceful and calm. I have always said that I'm not a fan of fall but on Friday I was definitely a fan. // 

  // I like a smiling Yangkyu. And I like a peek-a-boo Piri! Can you spot him looking out back? // 

  // I think this is my favorite picture from yesterday. It was just the perfect timing as the birds were taking flight. // 

  // On our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. // 

  // Bathroom and treat break for Piri. So important, you know? Hehe. // 

  // I am notorious for not getting the angle right and chopping off parts of faces and heads when taking selfies with actual cameras. //
  // We recently switched over to a portable bowl for Piri's water breaks after years of using a travel water bottle/dispenser. I find this to be easier. //
  // All that lemony goodness. // 

  // A blurry mess// 
Hat is from ASOS {old -- similar}

Photos taken with Fujifilm x100T and edited in Photoshop CS5 using A Beautiful Mess - The Folk Collection Photoshop Action {Imogen} and A Beautiful Mess - The Signature Collection Photoshop Action {Stella, Hazel}

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