September 28, 2016

Pre-travel habits

We're slowly packing for our trip to New York. Piri can't decide which shirt to bring. I said choose two but he thinks we need to bring all of them. He's like Yangkyu. Yangkyu packs like there is going to be a zombie apocalypse even for short overnight trips. It drives me nuts. 

For the past two days I've been cleaning the house, washing everything, dusting and wiping down the floors (thank you Dyson and Bona! You guys are a life saver!). And for the past week we've been cooking with what's been left over in our refrigerator so that it'll be all cleared (or almost all cleared). 

These are our pre-travel habits - cleaning the house because I hate coming home to a dirty one (and also it makes sense now because of Piri's Place and we clean the house regularly so that we can all, including guest dogs, enjoy a clean house) and clearing out our fridge so that we don't waste any food. Sometimes it feels like we're stuck eating things we are not in the mood for, but since we'll be going away and eating everything we'll be in the mood for, it sort of makes up for it. We also make sure to unplug electricities (TV, computers, lamps, etc.) while we are away and give Piri a bath too so that he is nice and clean (courtesy to hotels and rentals we'll be staying at -- previously when we used to board him at cage free facilities we also gave him a bath so that he would be clean for his caretakers. He gets a bath after traveling as well). 

Do you have any pre-travel habits or routines? 

It's supposed to rain the entire time we're up in New York. We're trying not to let it dampen our moods too much, but man.. do I wish it would rain another time. 

September 26, 2016

Expecto Patronum!

Did you take the Patronus test on Pottermore

I did and my patronus is a ... St. Bernard!

Ha. Of course it's a dog, right? Too bad it wasn't a cocker spaniel (although I don't think that is an actual patronus). I also got sorted into Hufflepuff and my wand is made of Acacia wood, unicorn hair center, 11" in length and slightly yielding flexibility {an explanation of your house and what your wand is also available once you create your Pottermore profile}. 

I recently finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a few days ago (literally finished the book in 2 days) and I cried throughout the book. Am I the only one to have bawled reading the script?

I have actually never cried before while reading the other books and also during movies but this time around there were just so many scenes that made my heart hurt. I am also in a different period in my life and I think looking at relationships between parent and child, friends and the one you love takes on new meaning for me. I know - I get like this! Have overly deep emotions and thought processes, which makes my analyzing story lines and characters so different from others, but that's maybe just a quirky part of my personality *wink wink*. I was a little wary about starting the Cursed Child because I read so many articles about how fans didn't like it, but I absolutely loved it. 

I read the first Harry Potter book pretty late -- it was the senior year of college, May 2001, during finals. Probably the most important period of my college experience, because if you fail course during your last semester in college, you don't graduate. But of course, during a study session at Barnes & Noble I decided to picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was actually going to get all the books that were already out but a friend advised me not to, in case I don't actually end up liking it. Well... I ended up staying up the entire night finishing the book and went back the next day to pick up the rest. I just could not study without finding out how the story kept unfolding. Needless to say, there were many sleepless nights of reading and studying but thankfully, I got to finish all the books and ace my exams as well {ok - maybe except Economics, which I barely passed.. seriously.. but Econ was always my achilles heel during college}. 

As for the movies, I only watched up to The Goblet of Fire and so recently I finished watching The Order of the Phoenix and plan on watching The Half Blooded Prince and the Deathly Hallows as well. And then maybe a marathon. Heh.

So tell me! What is your patronus? And your house and wand?

 // People's not so happy reactions to their patronus test {hehe}

September 23, 2016

The last of our summer harvest + a little Piri update

These were our favorites, next to our cucumbers and green onions. Stone crops -- basically weeds you can eat {just like dandelion}. We spiced these up with hot pepper flakes mixed with some honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and garlic {sometimes I added a little bit of canary sauce, too} and they were a staple on our dinner table whenever we had Korean food. I can't wait for these to crop up again next year. 

We're cleaning up our summer vegetable garden, but still tending to the broccoli, radish, beets and purple carrots which we'll harvest a couple more months down the line. There is always a bitter sweet feeling whenever I have to do away with something that was once thriving - so green and colorful was our garden over the summer, and now they are all withered and dying.

Mornings are crisp here, although during the afternoon it still feels like summer. I don't always do so well with the summer to fall transition and so I always tend to guard my heart a bit more during this time of year - it always seems to be a bit more vulnerable than usual.

The last of our September DogVacay guests leave today - in just a few hours. We plan on getting out during the weekend, maybe an arts and crafts fair and then the farmers market on Sunday. We are off until the beginning of October. We have a trip to New York coming up in a few days. We'll be going with Piri.

When we originally booked the trip it was before all the new developments with Piri's cancer - he was doing so well and so we thought now is the time to go since we missed out on so many chances to go with him. Since then though the trip has taken on a whole new meaning. It feels like almost coming to full circle -- going back to the place where we started out as a family, in that little shoebox studio apartment in Rego Park, Queens. We are going back to our roots, hopefully walk that all too familiar walking route for Piri, possibly for the last time, and grab our favorite tacos as well.

Despite everything, Piri is doing well. The visit to the holistic vet was good and he's been doing good on all his supplements, including his new ones. The results of the fine needle aspirate didn't give definite results as I think the sample was compromised during transport to the lab, but most likely the new lump in his throat area is a cancer of the salivary gland - an uncommon cancer, but more prone with older dogs. The report said it is less likely to be lymphoma. Still, nothing is for certain. It is a fortunate and unfortunate news all in one.

We don't plan on putting Piri through another surgery and having the lump removed and sent in for a biopsy for a more definitive result. I don't think I can put him through another sedation, medication and recovery cycle. The holistic vet told us to monitor the lump, keep him on his supplements and if the lump grows fast then we'll know it is aggressive and we'll need to gather together again and see what we can do for Piri.

This morning, Yangkyu told me that this is the right path for Piri. We tried chemotherapy, multiple surgeries -- no regrets. There won't be a "what if" because we feel we exhausted all possible options to fight Piri's cancer. Right now, we need to focus on keeping him comfortable.

I know.

I know, but it still hurts. I don't want Piri to misunderstand and think that we've given up on him.

While crying, I saw Piri sprawled out on in his bed, sleeping like he didn't have a care in the world. I mentioned that to Yangkyu and he went to go hug him and kiss him and said, "Piri is like me. He doesn't worry about a lot of things. He just goes with the flow."

I think he's right.

September 21, 2016

New Wall Hangings

I plan on making a butt load of God's Eyes for a wall in our living room. I had been meaning to collect branches and sticks of different sizes but realized that I can use pussy willow branches that I picked up at Trader Joe's several weeks ago. 

Making God's Eyes is one of my favorite things to do -- it's so simple but you can do so much with different colors and sizes. 

It's officially fall tomorrow for us. Sigh. New wall hangings and making small additions and changes to our nesting area seems appropriate. 

September 19, 2016

Pickled Cucumbers at home

All summer long, our vegetable garden was a gift that kept giving. In the form of cucumbers, mostly. It did so well that we had so many cucumbers and I thought that I would have jars and jars of pickled cucumbers to last me all winter. 

Well.. it didn't turn out quite so -- we ended up eating most of the cucumbers as snacks or made pickled cucumber kimchi and even did facials with them. 

It actually took me a while to make picked cucumbers because I was just too lazy to go buy jars and peppercorn and mustard seed, which we didn't have in our spice rack. 

But once I had all the ingredients, these pickled cucumbers were super easy and quick to make. I mean, you really can't mess this one up. Promise.

There are a few more cucumbers forming right now in our garden and I plan to make more pickled jars before we say bye to our summer garden. 

Here is how I made our pickled cucumbers if you're interested in seeing. 

What you'll need: 

 // 1 quart jars with lids -- I picked mine up at our local grocery store. I bought the 10 jar pack but I only needed 3 for this pickling session. 

 // Cucumbers -- I used 4 medium sized ones, which fit into 3 jars

 // 5 springs of fresh dill (per jar)

 // 2-3 clovers of garlic, crushed and minced (per jar)

 // 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar (per jar)

 // 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (per jar) -- I might have actually used even less. You can eyeball depending on how much salt you want to use. I didn't want to use a lot for our consumption but did enough to make sure the taste was there. 

 // Filtered water (enough to top your jar/s)

 // 20 black peppercorns (per jar)

 // 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds (per jar)

Directions -- 

01 // Wash your cucumbers and cut them into discs or spears and add them to your jar.

02 // Add all your other ingredients except the water. For me I added it in this order -- vinegar, garlic, salt, peppercorn, mustard seeds and then fresh dill.

03 // After you have incorporated all your ingredients, pour your filtered water to the top of the jar. Screw the lid on and give it a shake.

04 // Let your jar sit out on your countertop for about 24 hours and then refrigerate. Give it a taste after it's chilled for a bit. It tastes gooood!

We had some with pizza the other night and Yangkyu was the first to taste. We both weren't expecting much {I'm not the brightest in the kitchen} but his eyes lit up and said, "They taste like pickles, Jane! How did you do it?!" Then I stuffed one in my mouth and said, "Oh my golly they do taste like pickles!"

We have finished one jar and will make more once we have a few more cucumbers on hand. We also have a bowl full of tomatoes from the garden and I think I'll go ahead and find a way pickle them too. 

What would you do with a basket full of cucumbers?

September 18, 2016

Our little blog is four

It's been one of those days where I meant to post this in the morning but things just kept happening. But I wanted to squeeze in here before the day is out to wish this little blog a happy fourth. 

Here's to more memories and stories.

September 16, 2016

I'm sorry Piri

For the past month or so, Piri's been getting up in the middle of the night, every night, multiple times, usually to go pee. There was a time earlier this year when he did this, but it stopped and he was sleeping through the night without having to get up. But lately it's come back, and it's a bit more than it used to be. 

Most nights, he'll be up at 2 am, 3:30 am and 5:30 am. His water intake has increased, I presume because his kidneys have gotten worse, and so he needs to pee more, but even after peeing and he was comfortably in his bed again, after a few minutes he would be up and about, pacing like he was looking for something. I quickly learned that he wanted water. He has never looked for water in the middle of the night and so this is a new development. 

Last night Piri was up at 12:30 am, 3 am, 3:30 am and at 5:30 am. By the third time I lost my patience and got short with him. I immediately felt bad and didn't know why I got so frustrated. But I guess day after day, for over a month, of continuous interrupted sleep, my mind was a little tired too. 

It's not just a matter of going down stairs with him and opening the balcony door to let him out and then coming upstairs. We carry Piri up and down the stairs now because of his arthritis and old age. We wipe his paws and pee area. When guest dogs are with us, sometimes they all run out the backyard too and do their business, which means more paws and pee areas to wipe. It's sleeping on the sofa after the third time going up and down the stairs, but Piri still pacing about because he wants to be in his bed upstairs. Then just a couple of hours after putting him to bed there, it's hearing him pace again because he needs to go out again, but actually it wasn't that he needed to go out but he wanted to drink water, which he drinks now with the help of a dropper. It's turning the house alarm off and on - something so simple, but sometimes on a tired brain it's such an annoying task. 

When Piri woke up again at 3:30 am last night it was because he had wanted water. More water. 

I had given him something to drink and put him to bed upstairs but he was up again, which made me think he needed to pee. We went out but he didn't do anything. I put him back to bed and he paced again. I was so exasperated. Then I went downstairs and brought him some water and that was it. He had wanted more water. He soon fell asleep again peacefully. 

I'm so sorry, Piri, for getting short with you last night. I'll try to be more understanding... I guess I still have a lot of shortcomings and still have so much learning to do as a caretaker.

September 11, 2016


I don't know why I have trouble handling the upsetting news of Piri's cancer regrowth. Or why it's been so difficult for me to come to terms with him having this terminal illness. I see other dog people who had to go through similar painful experiences but seem so strong.. no matter how much their heart hurt they remained strong. 

I, on the other hand, am fearful of what may come. 

Will it be sudden? In a matter of weeks? Or will it be another 6 months? Or will it be longer? 

Will he slowly just die before my eyes. Wither away more than he already has. Will he not eat and soil in his bed. Will he not recognize us. Will he continue to hang on despite his health continuously failing because he has been such a strong willed fighter all this time... because he wants to be with us as much as we want to be with him. Will we be left with no viable option except to put him to sleep or will he go peacefully in our arms.

I don't think I can bear to see him lifeless. I try to find comfort looking back at our long time together but sometimes it makes it worse.

Piri wants to go everywhere we go. Even if we are in the other room, he'll trot over and stay close to us. Every time I see him like this my heart hurts and I begin to put human motives in his behavior... it makes me think he really really wants to be with us and has no intention of going. 

I know.. it sounds silly. But to my broken heart it also sounds plausible. 

Yangkyu and I talked over the possibility of euthanasia yesterday. I know it's very premature. I just wanted to be on the same page with him should we ever have to face that cruel situation.

After conversing a lot of what if's, we concluded that it is not an option for us. We will likely revisit this decision in the future should things just turn so terribly horribly impossibly hard for Piri and mass removal surgeries are no longer an option, but right this second, we don't think that it is our right to decide to end Piri's life or not. 

Last Christmas, a friend on Instagram gifted me with a book called The Last Walk. I read the first chapter and couldn't bear to continue on. But a passage got my attention and has stayed with me all this time.. 
Is a "natural death preferable, for Ody, to euthanasia? Why is it that we have such a revulsion against euthanasia for human beings, yet when it comes to animals this good death comes to feel almost obligatory? If it is an act of such compassion, shouldn't we be more willing to provide this assistance for our beloved human companions as well? 
I worry: will I be able to read Ody's signals? And I wonder: does life ever become so burdensome for an animal that he or she would prefer death, or is this something we have judged from the outside? Is it that their lives become burdensome for them, or for us? The more troublesome Ody becomes -- the more he pees on the floor, the more often he barks for no reason at odd hours of the night, the more frequently he stands, confused and panting, in the middle of the kitchen while I'm trying to cook dinner - the more ambiguous the question of burdens becomes.  
-- The Last Walk, Jessica Pierce

September 10, 2016

And so it is true...

After being cancer-free for six months, Piri's oral melanoma is back. It may also have spread to his lymph nodes as I felt a lump in his throat today, something I have never felt before (or I could be highly paranoid.. which I hope is the case..)

My heart is shattered and I feel the similar fear of the unknown that I felt when we first got the diagnosis.

My sweet Piri.

I wish you weren't going through this..

I wish I wish I wish... 

September 9, 2016


I can be having a perfectly wonderful day and something will happen and everything is ruined. 

That is today. 

Just a couple of hours ago, my perfectly good, normal day turned into an extremely irritating one. 

I don't think I have the energy to get into it now but it has to do with Piri and how hard it is for me to comprehend people sometimes. People-ing is fucking hard. Dealing with personalities I don't mesh well with is hard. I don't like ingenuity and when I am nice it is definitely not a license for people to walk all over me. Most get that it's not and reciprocate the cordialness, but there are a few who begin to act more bossy, crossing the boundary they shouldn't, and their arrogance baffles me. 

Sigh. It's going to be a long night folks. And I am not sure if tomorrow will make things better.

September 8, 2016

For Dog and Me

01 // 02 // 03 // 04 // 05 // 06 // 07 // 08 // 09 // 10

Oh, for the love of dog, and the dog lover. 

September 7, 2016

I like this life with you // 010

"And so for a time it looked as if all the adventures were coming to an end; but that was not to be." -- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

September 6, 2016

September Wish List

01 // 02 // 03 // 04 // 05 // 06 // 07

I haven't done these in a gazillion years but I thought to bring it back. It's fun curating and wishing a bit, no?

What are you on the look out for this month?

PS -- We'll also be doing a "For the dog and my dog heart" wish lists too so look out for those!

September 5, 2016

Slowly recovering

Piri came back home late afternoon on Saturday and he's been slowly recovering. The area in his mouth painful but he doesn't really show it - I figured he was in discomfort because he wanted to eat but couldn't get his mouth to open and chew. Stoic dog. Only if he would yelp or cry to let me know. 

He's on painkillers, which we are supposed to give every 8-12 hours, but it looks like he's been needing them more around the 8th hour and not the 12th. 

We are still dealing with differences in doctor's opinions - our oncologist and the surgical doctor. On Saturday the doctor performing Piri's surgery said that he is even more convinced that the it's the oral melanoma that came back despite the cytology that the oncologist ran on the 22nd. I am not convinced but I am worrying. Like crazy worrying. We won't know for sure until end of this week when biopsy results come back. I don't like this wait... I don't like it at all. 

Today is Labor Day and Yangkyu has off, although he is spending some time working from home and also studying as well. Our last Labor Day weekend doggy guest is leaving today and so we plan on spending a slow day here and going out just the three of us when our guest leaves. 

I had a very emotional day yesterday. Crying and just talking about random things, which weren't all that random when I think about it now. All somehow connected... Just a lot of painful memories that came flooding back and I couldn't control my emotions and I just cried and cried and cried. 

It's so very odd but I feel so much better today. Like yesterday didn't even happen.

I got my positive ovulation test yesterday morning and I am wondering if my mood swing around this time of the month is a bit more pronounced than other months. 

I am glad that it's over though. I am glad that Piri is home with us. I am glad for many things. I'll focus on those today. 

September 3, 2016

Not so great at this waiting game

And I have found myself doing lots of waiting these past few years. 

You know.. 

You have your period. Then you wait to ovulate. Then wait again to see if you'll have your period again. You wait for the pregnancy test results. Negative.


Every month.

For four years.

You wait for the earliest possible vet appointment. Wait for doctor's findings and recommendations. Wait until surgery date. Wait until surgery is done. Wait until recovery is done. Wait for findings on suspicious things removed from body. 


While Piri may not have had consecutive surgery, he's been in and out of hospitals and has had a couple of surgeries and sedated exams a whole lot for the past three years, ever since he was diagnosed with kidney disease and cancer earlier this year.

He's having minor surgery today to remove the suspicious lump that came back in his mouth. We had thought to leave it as it wasn't getting in the way of him eating and drinking but we have a trip coming up and I didn't want it to suddenly grow and make Piri feel uncomfortable while we are traveling. 

Piri's oncologist examined the lump on August 22 and determined that it wasn't cancerous but to be even more sure we are having the lump being removed biopsied. 

He's at the surgical hospital now with Yangkyu. I couldn't go because we have DogVacay guests arriving this morning. So I'm waiting. In an empty house. Just waiting for the sound of those familiar paw steps to fill our home again.

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