Feb 29, 2012

Threw open the curtains this morning when i woke up and the first words out of my mouth were "Oh damn!"

Very unexpected snowfall.  And just when it started feeling like spring was on its way.  Way to be bipolar, weather!

The walk to work
I usually hear the weather report when i'm listening to the radio at night, but didn't have the radio on last night so was not expecting snow at all this morning.  Listening to the weather report right now and i guess it's back to rain tomorrow. 

Last weekend i met up with a new friend and we went to the planetarium in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro.  Right up my alley, since astronomy and space has always fascinated me.  Probably would've been my course of study in college had i not been set on studying Japanese.  (And if i didn't despise math and suck at physics..)
Also went to the top on the Sunshine 60 tower, which had some pretty amazing views as well as a neat little... museum(?) of sorts with a bunch of those optical illusion photos which ask you things like "Which is bigger?" or "What other animal do you see in this picture?"  Definitely a fun, inexpensive thing to do around Tokyo. :)

Can you find Tokyo Tower in all three photos?
A little too easy..
What about the new Sky Tree?  Only appears in one of them. ;)

Feb 20, 2012


I had wanted to post this on Valentine's Day, but considering the circumstances i didn't.
Now is as good a time as any though.  Sometimes, even when things are looking down, it's best to just laugh.
A conversation from Facebook chat a couple years ago..  i saved it because i like to look back at it from time to time.

00:56 Me
ah T-CHAN!
is the toilet fixed now?
**(they were having toilet issues at their apartment)

00:57 T-chan
no, it is too huge. I can't handle it.
I should take a poop outside.

00:58 Me
hahaha, well if you do you have to pick it up and throw it away!
some old lady let her dog poop on the sidewalk today and she left it there. i was pissed

01:00 T-chan
u were pissed?lol

01:02 Me
i was! i was eating at a restaurant at Pike Place Market and saw it happen, i almost ran out of the restaurant to yell at her!

01:03 T-chan
you sholud have done yelled at her!

01:04 Me
i really was going to, but i probably would have gotten into a fight with her so i didn't
i probably would've thrown the poop at her too

01:06 T-chan
lol I would do too.
please throw your poop at someone at Kaiwa table
**(Kaiwa Table was the Japanese-English conversation group at UW where we met)

01:08 Me
my poop? no, i flush my poop, you'll have to bring yours

01:09 T-chan
ok! I'll bring mine for valentine's day.
it looks same.

01:11 Me
hahaha, omg you're crazy!
but it in a heart-shaped box!

01:12 T-chan
It is a piece of cake.
it's easy to make it that i move around while i'm taking poop. that's it.
before I did it, I have to eat tons of chocolate.

01:15 Me
lol, what? no, i mean buy one of those heart-shaped boxes that the valentines chocolates come it, and put the poo in there!
you could eat all of the chocolate first
**(I was confused about something there...)

yeah! that's what I'm thinking.
you should buy it I made for you.
it costs $1000

This kid never fails to brighten my day.

Feb 18, 2012

Baby Girl

It's been almost 3 weeks since my last post.  I'm not even sure where to begin.
After hearing about my grandma, i had hoped i could move on to less depressing things.  The thought that i won't ever get to go visit her again is hard- as is the thought that if i hadn't procrastinated getting out my letters she would've gotten one last little note from me- but i didn't want to dwell on the negatives. 
At the same time though, i was afraid of another domino-effect of bad news.  See, a few years ago, the death of my Grandpa R was followed a couple weeks later by the death of my other grandma, followed a few weeks after that by the death of my lovely Kitty, who we'd had for over 10 years.

As predicted, i found out a couple days after my grandma's death that my aunt has had cancer and was having her leg amputated that day.  That came as quite a shock, as i had somehow missed the news that she was even sick.

And then, a few days after that, the news that my baby girl, my Arctic, wasn't doing well either.  I didn't realize how bad it was until Wednesday the 8th, when my older sister Skyped me to tell me that my mom was thinking of having her put down that night.  I had a bit of a melt-down, called my mom to make sure she would wait, and booked a ticket to the U.S. that left on Friday. 
Didn't get a wink of sleep Wednesday night.  Cried so hard or so much that i burst a blood vessel in my eye.  I scoured the internet for a last-minute flight under $1000 (which surprisingly i succeeded at).  Packed a duffel bag of clothes and my backpack.  Called my boss first thing Thursday morning to tell him i had to go home for the week.  Of course i couldn't tell him the real reason why.  And yes, i didn't even really ask.  He was understanding though, took me to the immigration office in the morning before i had to be at work, to get the re-entry permit that i needed in my passport so i could get back into the country with my work visa.  I was a bit of a mess the whole day, very zombie-like from exhaustion and lack of sleep, the whole time worrying that my girl wouldn't hold on until i got home.  But i got through work Thursday, got home and did all last-minute preparations before finally zonking out.  
Due to the time difference, i left Narita airport Friday afternoon and arrived at LAX Friday morning.  Got in to Phoenix in the afternoon and was picked up at the airport by Miss C. 
Spent the whole weekend at home, spending all the time i could with Arctic.  There were moments when she seemed like she was doing okay, but the majority of her time was spent sprawled out in her bed.  We had to encourage her to get up and go outside for a drink and to go pee every couple of hours.  She also had to be taken to the vet's office every day to get hydrated through IV.  Friday through Sunday night i slept out on the couch so i could let her outside whenever she had to pee since she couldn't make it though the dog door without a struggle.  Made sure she had a drink every hour or so as well.. 
We made sure she was as comfortable as possible.  As hard as it was to see her like that, it made me feel a little better to see that she was still excited about food.  Sunday night she got hand-outs of the pizza we were having for dinner.  I also made her her own special dinner Sunday night too- chicken breast, rice, veggies, and eggs.  First time i'd ever cooked meat in my life.  She seemed to enjoy it.
I slept on the ground with her that night.  She didn't sleep too well.  She'd sit up every hour or so and start panting, and i'd make sure she'd get a drink and would help her up and outside when she needed.

Then Monday morning, we finally had to say goodbye. 
It felt so unfair to be the ones deciding when she would go.  She was in pain and would have gone on her own soon enough, but i wish we could've talked to her, asked her what she wanted to do- if she wanted to wait it out and go naturally, or if she was done hanging on and wanted to go ahead and end it then..
She was 12 and 1/2 years old.  A good long life for a husky, but as anyone who's had dogs will tell you, that's simply not long enough.
12 and 1/2 years... that's half of my life.  I remember the day i got her.. i had hoped and waited for years to get a husky.  I don't even really know what sparked my love for huskies at such a young age.  I wanted one and nothing was going to keep me from getting one.  I saved as much of my allowance and lunch money as i could in a gross-looking coffee can that i had found in our garage, kept hidden in my closet.  
I remember my older sister telling me that her friend's older brother had bought a husky but was looking to find her a new home, since he was away at college all day while she was shut in the bathroom to keep her out of trouble, and he couldn't spend the time with her that she needed.  I wasn't supposed to know about it yet.. it was just between her and our mom then, but i wrote about it in my journal as the happiest day of my life.
It was a struggle though.  I was young and had never had a puppy before, and suddenly i was a mom to the adorable little bundle of fur that i had been yearning for for years.  Like any other baby there was endless poop and pee, messes and things destroyed.  So much time and energy going in to potty-training, playing, and obedience.  Money spent on food and vaccines and vet visits..  
But i did it.  She was my baby girl and no one could've been prouder of her than i.  She was a ball of energy and proved it every time she took me for a walk.  But for what energy she had, she had twice as much heart.  Whenever i was upset, she would sit and listen (for her being the spitfire she was, that was rare indeed) and let me hug her.  She would give you more sniffs and kisses than you'd ever want.  When we'd come home it was all tail-wags and jumping and so much excitement!  When i'd decide to sleep out on the pull-out couch bed, she'd hop up there with me and curl up by my side to sleep with me.
My biggest regret is that i missed so much of the last 4 years with her.  I wanted so much to bring her up to Seattle with me, but in the end i knew it was best for her not to uproot her from the place she grew up in, with her big house and yard.. and with me being gone at work and school most of the day it wouldn't be fair to her to be cooped up in an apartment all day with no one to be there for her.
And when i left for Japan last year, i knew she was old and didn't have much time left, which made it that much harder to go.  But i had told myself i had to be there for her in the end, no matter what.  I'm glad she held on for me so that i could have those last few days with her.  I was home for less than a week, but i don't think i could've stayed there for much longer after she was gone anyway, even if i didn't have work to worry about.  Not having her there was a bit too much for me to handle.  
I flew back to LA a day before my flight back to Narita was scheduled, so i could visit my aunt.  She seems to be doing well and is in good spirits.  It was nice to see her and my other aunt and my uncle, if only for less than a day.  Life is so fickle and unexpected, you never know when it will be your last time to see somebody.  I know that's so cliche and something everyone says but it couldn't be more true..
We visited and had dinner together the day i got in, then early the next morning we all had breakfast at Denny's before they took me back to the airport.
I boarded the plane with my carry-on bags.  Arctic's paw-print that they made at the vet's office in my duffel bag, and her collar hooked onto my backpack.  It gave me a little comfort in hearing her tags jingle at my side as i walked.  A friend of my mom's put it best, in a comment on Facebook: "I have never gotten over losing... my beloved German Shep, even though it has been over 30 years. I would give all my posessions to have her back."
Losing family hurts, no matter if they're two-legged or four.  It's just sad that many people don't consider the four-legged ones as family.  I've never been able to understand that...
I had the chance to talk to my Grandma R on the phone while i was home.  I knew she had such a hard time losing Grandpa R, but she's been moving on like a trouper.  She told me, once it's not as fresh you'll have lots of happy memories of her to look back on.  And i know it.  That's how it is with all things.  I just wish i could get to that point already.   
But for now Artie-head, my baby girl, i just gotta keep swallowing the lump in my throat that forms whenever i think of you.  Because of all the dogs i've met in my life you were honestly, without a doubt, the best.

Our first day together, to our last.
 Love you.

Edit:  I can't forget that i owe a thank you to my dad for buying my ticket home, and to my mom and little sister for taking care of her while i couldn't be there. 
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