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I am NOT a snack....Scooter's Adventures in South Korea

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All I Can Say Is WOW....

July 5th 2011 2:58 pm
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Mom has totally slacked off on my Diary on here, but she still keeps a handwritten journal of my adventures. Maybe this will get her to type them up and post them.

So, she opens her email this morning and there it is. Dog of the Day. Awesome! I wonder if that means I'll get some sort of treat later? Hummm.

I guess I really need to update everyone on the basics....

Still in South Korea. Don't know when we will be transferring home. It should have been in February. Then they said March (during the last week of Feb). Then it was moved to April, then June. Who knows.


P-p-p-poker face

March 31st 2010 6:05 am
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Tuesday, March30th

Since Dad has been on wacky schedules for at least the last 18 months, he hasn't been able to hit the weekly poker tournament at the Navy Club. Regulars can earn points or something towards the quarterly invitation only tournament that has a bigger payout than the weekly $200/150/75 gift cards plus top 9 getting a free buy-in for one of the weeklies. Mom thought Dad deserved and really needed poker night since he could have a couple of beers. She also joked that if he placed in the top 3, he could just give her the gift card since her birthday is coming up.

One of the guys that works with Dad was there as were several other acquaintances. Mom decided she'd play and worst case scenario, I'd lay in her lap. We had to pick up a card off of the finals table to tell us where to sit. We got lucky; Dad was across the table from us and the way the tables were set up, I could lay in front of Mom's feet (and if I stretched really far could touch Dad).

It was rather boring. As long as I stayed on my mat, Mom wasn't to concerned with me moving around a little or sitting up. She had to stand up to deal which made me sit up. At the break, we both made potty runs and Mom had Dad hold my leash while she fixed herself a hotdog. The other lady at our table made some comment about dogs begging for food. I dropped into a down on my mat. She couldn't believe that I wasn't overwhelmingly interested in Mom's food.

Mom finally went out in 14th or 15th place. It was after it was down to two tables. There was a bit of table balancing going on and things started to get noisy as the numbers dwindled towards the top 9 (who would make the final table) and there was a player at each table with extremely short stacks (like2-3 chips total); one of them happened to be Dad's friend. Mom grabbed my Mutt Muffs so I didn't have to listen to all the racket.

Mom didn't want to stand to see all of the action, so we moved a chair where we could sorta see and she could hear everything while she sipped a coke. As it drug on, we were both getting tired. She had me laying in her lap while she used the wireless hotspot connection on her I-pod Touch to browse Dogster and to post on my Facebook page. Suddenly, it was over; Dad's friend had finished in third place and Dad had finished in second.

It was after eleven when we got home. We were all tired. I was more than happy to grab Mr. Squirrel and climb into bed.


25 Months and some things never change...

March 29th 2010 6:03 am
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Sunday, March 28th

Well yesterday was a bummer. Dad got a phone call and was sorta on stand-by so we couldn't go to the zoo. We hung out at home and went for a walk around the complex.

The wind was whipping so it was feeling more like 30-something instead of nearly 50. Dad needed to drop off some uniform stuff to have patches changed. We cabbed to base. The driver was listening to some sort of Christian church service. Mom couldn't understand a word of it, but the tone and cadence was very obvious. I decided to look out the window until we got stopped at a red light that happened to be very noisy. There was someone singing into a cordless mic rigged to a megaphone on one corner and on the opposite there was someone with another mic (with amp) hawking items for the Cold Stone Creamery. I decided to bury my head in Mom's neck.

We were in the Four Seasons looking at grills when I alerted. Mom bought a drink and took some meds. So we did the errands and walked to Itaewon; I kept an eye on Mom. Mom decided to walk down a side street, found a purse store (I think she has a built in radar for them). It was part of a huge shopping area she hadn't seen before. There was a place selling all sorts of yoga pants and hoodie tops. Mom found a set in a moss green that was super soft. She said we'd have to go back before we leave.

We hit the Outback again. This time, they just had appetizers. The waiter messed up on writing Dad's drink order and brought some umbrella fruity looking thing to the table. He had ordered a Victoria Bitter (beer). Later, one of the wait staff asked if Dad was an Aussie. He said that they get quite a few come in and that is what they all order.

There was a different set of university students on the one corner. This time it was two guys. They wanted to interview Dad but he declined.

We generally don't walk down the long sloping hill since it is mainly restaurants and car dealerships. We've noticed that there are generally a lot of tour buses parked along that section. It seems that it is a mecca for Japanese tourists. They bus in, eat at one of the restaurants and then walk the strip. One of the places had some touristy stuff out front – spoons and spoon/chopstick sets. Seems the Japanese are intrigued by the metal chopsticks or something.

Not soo many dogs out. Did see a Doxie and a fluffy Pomeranian out on flexis. There was a HUGE black chow chained up at one of the Japanese restaurants. Mom said we won't be walking that way again unless it is on the other side of the street; the chain it was on looked flimsy.

So we walked in the front gate and through the building to have the 'rents' Ids scanned, then made our way towards our building via going by the playgrounds. Next thing we know here come two mps running. We dropped back so we were single file (so they could get past us) when the female yells, “Hey, Mam!” They stop about ten foot from us. “Pets aren't allowed.” Seems someone banged on their door to complain that there was a dog on the premises. Mom told her that I wasn't a pet (and had me turn sideways so they could see I was vested) and that the command has approved for me to live here.

You'd think that after 25 months here, people would take the time to read my vest or ask the pawrents about me. Nope, they have to talk behind or backs or run to the mps. If Mom had been thinking clearly (she was medded out) she would have followed them back to see who it was and make sure that they saw my vest.
Mom did put me in the tub; my feet were gray. She got really woozie while drying my feet. Dad ended up being the one to feed me. We all went to bed early.


Bloomin' Onions and Strawberry Butter

March 26th 2010 4:17 am
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Wednesday, March 24th

To celebrate Dad starting back on a normal schedule (no more 16+ hour days), the pawrents decided to dine out. Both have been craving steak and since we don't have a grill, the options are limited. Mom suggested the Outback in Itaewon and took the opportunity to dress up a bit, actually put on makeup, and paint her toenails. I got to wear my new blue croc bling'd out collar.

Last month, Mom and I went to the Express Bus Terminal with some other SUSLAK wives. There are like 3 floors of underground shopping plus a 5 story building all connected to this very large bus station. (Lots of people take these large travel buses instead of the train.) There was an Outback as well as tons of small Korean restaurants, a Lotteteria (owned/started by the Lotte world bunch and sorta like a McDonalds. Lotte world is basically a Korean Walmart) as well as some Japanese/Chinese places. A couple of people had eaten at one of the Korean places earlier in the trip; I napped while they all sat around the table and talked. At the end of the trip, Mom and a couple of the others went into the Outback looking for a blooming onion only to find out they didn't have them on the menu. That was a real WTF moment.

That resulted in a weird conversation between Mom and Dad as we were walking up the stairs to the restaurant. (Nope, it sure isn't handicap accessible. The stairs don't even have a handrail.) The hostess sees me and freaked out. Mom shows her my id and tells her to call the manager. We were quickly shown a seat. Dad had my mat in his bag, so it took a minute for Mom to get me set up. Once it was down, I hopped on it and laid down.

One of the special drink listings was for Strawberry juice. Mom couldn't figure out why it was soo expensive (especially since strawberries are in season right now) until she looked at the serving size. 750Ml (25oz) was 22,000won. Mom got one of the small 3,000won glasses. It wasn't all strawberry; it had banana in it as well, but it was good; she had the rest in a to-go cup so I got a taste when we got outside.

Bloomin' Onion wasn't on the regular menu here either. It was on a paper insert. There were also some other more Korean-type specials on a second insert. They ordered and got a pleasant surprise when the bread arrived; strawberry butter. It was awesome (I got a taste of it when we got home).

Mom hates the horseradish sauce that normally comes with the onion. She use to just have them bring some ranch on the side, but since she tried the Aussie Cheese fries, she likes the dressing for them (a spicy ranch). The waiter brought it AND some of the spicy stuff that they normally serve with the shrimp. It reminds Mom of the sauce in Kung Pao Chicken (orangy/red jellish). It must have been good because Dad commented that Mom was demolishing her half of the onion.

Mom didn't eat all of her steak, so she got a to-go box. The waiter fixed us up with 2 loaves of the bread and the berry butter. The other tables around us had no idea I was there and were surprised when I came out from under there.

It had cooled off considerably when we got outside, but it wasn't that bad. Mom wanted to walk a bit and just look. Sometimes the cart vendors have new stuff. We took a leisurely pace since Mom was wearing short heels. When she finished, Dad flagged down a taxi. He messed up when he told them where to take us. They changed the name of the bus stop out front. It use to be named for the university building on the other side of the road, but now it is named after the hospital that is out the back gate. So he gave them the name of the hospital and guess where the cab took us.

Mom's shoes started hurting her feet, so she took them off and rolled up her jeans. I wasn't the only one getting their feet washed as soon as we got home. Dad fixed my dinner while I was in the tub.

Thursday, March 25th

Mom and I finished off the steak and a loaf of bread for lunch.

I was happy to see Dad when he came home. It is not going to take me long to get use to him coming home earlier. He dumped his bag, kissed Mom, and gave me some attention before heading off to our commissary to grab a few things.

At some point, Dad said it felt like something flew into his eye. He had Mom look at it. She told him it looked blistered, like how a fuzzy caterpillar leaves blisters where it touches. We didn't have any saline solution so Mom grabbed her wallet and shoes then headed to the commissary. They don't have saline solution. Mom wasn't dressed for heading out the gate (there are pharmacies out the back gate). Dad had been trying to wash it out with faucet water then decided to try to look it up online.

He decided to head for the emergency room (since it was after 5). It was nearly 9 when he finally got home. After numbing it and using some dye stuff, it was determined that he hadn't scratched anything (duh) and that it was some sort of allergic reaction. He's got two kinds of drops to use. One of them makes his pupil dilate which looks freaky.


A Lazy Sunday in Itaewon

March 21st 2010 4:45 am
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Sunday, March 21st

So the pawrents decided to go walking in Itaewon. Unfortunately, we had a few run-ins with the plethora of dogs. It started with a couple on one of the decks. They were just tied there. Dad blocked and we were ok. We went into a couple of stores. One had some purses that Mom wanted to look at. That was cool. We headed into another store that had several smaller places set up inside. As we were getting ready to go towards the door, one of the shopkeepers started asking Mom about me. Then we heard this dog bark behind the counter and he let it out. It was a Pomeranian with an attitude problem. It runs up to me, gets in my face, and growled. Mom stepped in between us and it nearly nipped her. The old man grabbed it. Mom was ticked. It was only then that he realized he had really messed up; he hadn't read my vest until then. He apologized.

Then someone's Poo-cross tried to get in my face. It was loose out on the sidewalk. Dad was running interference, but just wasn't getting the job done. Then we saw a young Bull Terrier that was quite simply overwhelmed and overstimulated. We found out later that someone was holding him for his owner. He started screaming when he saw me and then wouldn't shut up. Then we passed one of the dogs from the deck. It ignored me for the most part, but it got the pup going again. Finally, the little Terrier mix that is normally tethered to his owner's bike was running loose. Mom just picked me up.

We were going to catch a bus back, but after waiting for 10 minutes without one coming by, the pawrents decided to just walk back. We were waiting for the signal so we could cross the street when these two girls came up. They said their assignment was to talk to native English speakers and conduct an “interview”. Simple stuff: What's your name? Where are you from? What's your favorite place in Korea? Why? Dad just rolled his eyes. It was legitimate, but sorta funny since they have basic level skills. Mom let them do their interview.

Mom was being very careful on the steep stairs. There wasn't much pedestrian traffic out in this area and it was much quieter than on the main drag. We passed the Bull Terrier pup again. He had his tail tucked under and was holding his head low. He looked like he was half a step from either shutting down or going off. He didn't see me. It was almost like he wasn't seeing anything.

When we got home, Mom popped me into the tub and washed my feet and legs. I ate then piled up for a nap.

Dad has tomorrow off and we are thinking about heading back to the zoo. At least there, Mom doesn't have to worry about strange dogs trying to jump on me every time I turn around.


Zoo Pictures on Photobucket

March 14th 2010 1:33 am
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If you want to see them here is the link...

Grand Park Zoo


Seoul Grand Park Zoo

March 13th 2010 9:11 pm
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Sunday, March 7

The plan was to go to the track to watch the horse races. It was supposed to be some major Korean races going on; their version of the Breeder's Cup or something similar. They wouldn't let me in. We knew they probably wouldn't let me in the infield (where all the cool stuff is), but the pawrents had planned on going to the foreigner lounge. Mom was ticked; Dad was disappointed.

The new plan was to get back on the subway and go down another stop to the Grand Park Zoo. It was a long walk to get to the gates. Mom had looked at their website and it said that pets were allowed, but not in certain areas. Service Dogs aren't allowed in certain sections of zoos at home, so it wasn't a big deal. We did find out that they have changed their policy. No pets are allowed now. A supervisor came to look at my ID and vest. She then informed everyone that I was allowed. We were not questioned again.

I'll say it now; we did not see everything. We will be going back mainly because I was enjoying looking at the various animals. I saw some critters that were strange and some that were a little scary.

Some of the Flamingos were light pink and some were dark coral. There were Emus and Ostriches, some sort of red African velt herbivores and a pair of young Asian Water Buffalo that were sparring with each other. Mom noticed that they appeared to be “cut”. That's the first time she's seen a zoo use non-reversible means of birth control.

We visited the Australian section where I had to stand on my hind legs to see into the Wallaby Walleroo, and Kangaroo cages. Outside, there was no barrier keeping people from touching the animals through the fence! Mom kept me on the walkway as some of the roos were reaching through the fence. Several followed us along the fence line trying to figure out what I was doing.

Next was the “nocturnal” building. It was very dark inside. There were bats, owls, a Palm Civet (that caused some coffee jokes), a Picachu, and other bug-eyed furries. That was followed by the bug building. It was a mix of live and preserved specimens. They had several setups of Dad's favorite Rhino beetles including some 29 gallon bow front aquariums with hoods. Mom suspects her 20g breeder tank is going to become beetled heaven when we get back home. They also had a ton of frogs and tarantulas.

There was a huge open air aviary that the pawrents didn't even attempt to enter. It was full of peacocks, cranes, and other water birds. It was an extreme contrast to how the raptors were housed. They were in cages. I got their attention. It was almost like I was their enrichment for the time I was around. It is rather unnerving to have birds with 7+foot wingspans staring at you like you are lunch.

We did go through the regular bird house. Right inside the door, they had several birds, including a male eclectus) in regular bird cages like one would have in their home. As we walked by, one of them started screaming which made Dad turn to Mom and say, “That is the one reason I don't want a bird!”; Mom wants a female eclectus. Mom had to point out that it wasn't the male E making all of the noise, but a cockatoo.

Tucan Sam was very yellow. His comb almost looked fake. We saw the usual pet shop fare. Several Scarletts, Blue and Golds, a red lorikeet. There was a cage with several cockatoos. One was head bobbing with his comb so far up it looked impossible. He was screaming as he danced. We watched from a distance and it appeared that he just liked to hear himself. The Macaws had awesome enclosures. They spanned 2 stories and we could view them from each floor. Again, there was nothing to keep the public away from the wire. Several people were offering the birds corn on the cob and who only knows what else.

Things got interesting at the South American exhibits. I became the center of attention because the Llamas decided to follow me along the fence. The Koreans thought this was too funny and some started following us around to see how the animals and I interacted. The next outdoor pen contained peccaries. There was a ledge then glass. I put my paws up on the ledge so I could see. Most of them were towards the back of the enclosure. One came up and tried to sniff me through the glass. I'm use to piggies being much, much bigger. Then we went into the building. The capybaras were inside as was an anteater. He was huge; the tapir was even bigger. We also saw nutria and some rabbit looking animals. There were several monkey enclosures; some were two story. There was a long curving ramp up to the second floor. That's where I met the spider monkey. He hung onto the cage and was looking at me through the glass wall on the walkway. He started talking to me. Mom picked me up so I could see him better. He climbed up to eye level and stuck his hand out. Mom started talking to him. He looked soo lonely. There was a young capuchin in another enclosure (with several older animals). He came over to see us.

They had a variety of aquatic turtles, caymen, alligators, salt water and fresh water crocs. The salties looked like they would be needing larger quarters shortly. We had missed the actual feeding time, but could see evidence that it had happened not long before. Chicken leg quarters and necks were on the menu. None of them noticed me. I guess my smell was lost among the smells of the other animals. Much better than when the croc at the Coex scented me and went into stalk mode.

The Coatimundi were frisking around, the 6-banded armadillos were sleeping all curled up, and the sloths were being sloths...slowly moving along their rope trees. It was cool to watch them move. It's amazing they can hold on with those nails. On the way out, there were 4 exhibits; 3 contained snakes (including an Anaconda) while the fourth was guinea pigs. It looked like they could smell the snakes.

We saw part of the herbivore exhibits. Some sort of non North American deer wanted to follow me. The American Bison didn't pay any attention to me. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, they are just overly large cows. I've been there and done that. Nothing to it. There was also some red stag looking fellows that had lost their antlers.

By this time, it was starting to get late. We missed getting to see the nursery. We headed over towards the large carnivores. I stopped when I smelled the black bears. I know that reek; I've tracked them before. Mom told me it was ok and that it couldn't get to me. I looked around and noticed that everyone wasn't freaking out about it being soo close. Dad took up a position on my right so that I was walking in between them which eased my concerns.

The bears were too busy catching junk food being thrown by the visitors. Between that and the screeching the people were doing, the three of us were a little disgusted. It seems that everywhere you go, some people find it impossible to read/follow instruction of not feeding the animals.

It wasn't just them making inappropriate noises at the animals, but at me as well. If I have to hear some adult telling their kid “mong mong” (translates into woof woof) one more time, I think I'm going to bite the offender in the face!

Dad got some really good pics of the cougars. I've smelled Florida panthers before, so this was very similar. We were standing about 6 foot from them and the snow leopards. It was a little surreal. They were stalking me, but they weren't vocalizing. Before they saw me, the big one was stalking a bratty kid in a stroller and the parents were completely oblvious.

Everyone stated taking pics of the perked up kitties. The snow leopard really got into it. The big one literally jogged all over the enclosure trying to figure out how to get out. He even went into their “den”and when he came back out he looked almost defensive. We moved on to the tigers.

Mom thought one saw me, it was looking our direction and seemed to lock on and it came towards us, but then jumped on one of its sleeping buddies. That one started growling and bared teeth at the first one. Dad got it on film. The other two big section had a bunch of sleeping tigers. Then there were 2 (one with normal coloration and a “white” that looked seriously mentally challenged) in a cage like the cougars and leopards. The “white” tiger's stripes were a dingy brown. We passed several more cages of sleeping leopards and jags.

There was a small carnivore building. Some of the animals were inside due to the weather. Mom opted to not take me inside. Dad went. We then walked around to see the animals that were outside. More coatimundis and some sort of small kitty that wasn't an ALC. The kitty was more my size; it came down to check me out.

I started air scenting hard when we got downwind of the coyotes. Only one was awake; the others were laid up on a rock asleep. They sure were a lot bigger than what Mom and I are accustomed to seeing. Plus, they had really plush pelts thanks to the weather. It really wanted at me; I admit, I held my tail up and pranced around. I didn't do that in front of the wolves. I was much more respectful. Most of them were asleep. The one that was awake was very pretty. I turned sideways and averted my eyes, but I didn't cower. She got as close as she could. Mom was talking to her very softly. Dad was too busy looking at something to take pics.

The red foxes (which looked to be more of the European type reds) were asleep. Mom wants to go back just to get pics of me with them. It also made her really miss Louie and Versace. Those are two Florida red foxes that live at Old Dad's property.

The park started blaring a message in Korean. Closing time. By this time, Mom was walking really slowly because her feet hurt. She had been gaiting worse and worse through the day so by closing time, it wasn't just her feet hurting, but her knees and hips. Some of the steep inclines didn't help her knee issues at all.

We took the little trolly thing back to the parking lot, but it was still a long walk to the subway. We got down there after the crowd only to find out that the elevator was out of order and the only way down on that side was stairs. Dad was like “stairs it is” and Mom said “no”. We ended up having to cross like 8 lanes of traffic to get to an elevator. When the train finally came, it was full. Mom managed to snag a spot to stand where I wouldn't get stepped on. I stood between her feet. It finally emptied out enough she could snag a seat. We got off at Gate 17. Mom knew where the elevators are, so that was easy (sometimes they can be in really out of the way places on the platform level). The 5 steps to get inside the gate area wasn't easy. We called for one of the base cabs to get the rest of the way home.

I got a bath and ate while the pawrents got showers then we went to bed.

Mom is getting the info together to send the track a letter stating that she's going to ask other military families, American and Canadian ESL teachers, tourists, and expats to boycott the track since they discriminate against the disabled.


2009 Recap

March 11th 2010 10:53 am
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Ok, Mom has really been slipping so here is a recap of 2009

End of January did a 3 day hospital stay with tons of IV meds trying to stop the current headache cycle. I stayed with Mom. She brought my pop up crate, but I spent the majority of the time in bed with her. I really helped with grounding and finding a “happy place” as the nausea meds they were giving her literally burn the vein. She was being given these meds every 8 hours. We didn't have an internet connection, but Mom had brought plenty of stuff to watch. We got hooked on True Blood.

Dad extended our stay by a year, so now we won't go back home until 2011. He also passed his tests and made the promotion list. Unfortunately, due to the crappy way they did things, Mom and I didn't get to pin him. That really bummed Mom out. Chances are slim Dad will get promoted again. The next rank requires more than just passing tests, you also have to have certain endorsements made by a 1-star General or above, plus the number of slots is very small.

Our good neurologist rotated out. His replacement lacks migraine experience and bedside manners. He has no idea how to act around me, nor any idea of how I actually work. At our first encounter, Mom put down my mat and sent me under the chair. He was like, “he can wonder around.” I'm insulted that I was referred to in EFMP paperwork as a “migraine dog” instead of as a Medical Alert/Response SD. Then again, Mom and I get the distinct impression that he doesn't approve, but then this guy doesn't approve of much. Mom went into the appointment prepared. Including a very long list of preventative meds that she has tried. (Ok, Mom cheated. She copied off the list of known preventatives and then highlighted the ones she's tried. That is the best way to show that she's tried something from each category.) From the way things went, he didn't know half the stuff on the list was being used in that fashion. Yikes.

Evidentially, keeping up with the current medical trends concerning ones condition is threatening to some docs and treatment options that have been FDA approved for off-label use since 2001/2002 are “too new” to attempt. It's a muscle relaxer; either it works or it doesn't. He also doesn't “believe” in scripts for pain meds.

Mom happened to get a copy of what he put in after her first appointment. He thinks Mom is addicted and needs rehab. He also doesn't know what to do with her as far as her headaches go. He wants to say they are all medication overuse headaches, even though Mom has explained that those are quite different than what she's experiencing. There were several instances in which what he said at the appointment and what he entered were two different things. Mom complained to the patient advocate.

Dad went with us to the second appointment. Things didn't go much better. Mom took the patient advocate to her third appointment; butter wouldn't have melted in his mouth then. That also got Mom a referral to a pain management clinic. Unfortunately, those are at one of the Korean hospitals, so I can't go.

In August, we had an interesting encounter, though I missed most of it because Mom didn't take me with her. It was early on a Saturday morning when the doorbell rang. I had to wake Mom up. It was a little girl (@3yrs old) who was soo sure she had the right apartment that she just walked in the door the minute Mom unlocked it. Mom started questioning her; she told Mom that her parents were at work and the babysitter didn't show up. Mom wasn't sure which apartment she was trying to find and wasn't about to go knocking on doors that early in the morning.

Mom threw on some shorts and took her to the MP station. The 2 on duty seemed pretty lost as to what to do. When they would ask her questions, she wouldn't answer. If Mom asked them, she would. Mom finally decided that to move things along, she would have the kid show them where she lived. Turns out, she had snuck out of the house. Her dad came downstairs to 2 guys in his living room and Mom holding the door open.

We made it to the Air Force Ball again. I looked spiffy in my “Dress Mess”. Instead of guys with swords, it was Korean archers. It looked cool. A lot of people wanted either pics of me or pics with me. We had professional pics made of the three of us together and then Mom and Dad had a set made .without me.

We discovered the fabric building at Dongdaemun. The aisles are narrow and the places is generally pretty crowded, but they have everything you could ever want or need when it comes to sewing. Mom got some stuff to make me a leash to match the dress she planned to wear to the Navy Ball. We also went in search of some 5-in-1 test strips for our aquariums. The only place that had them wanted 50,000 won (@$50) for a box of 25. We ended up ordering the exact same product from Petsmart for $14.99/box.

Mom finally got a pic of the huge white butterfly koi. The guy who owns the store didn't want her taking pics of it. He claims he's in the import/export business and that people only want pics so they can get someone else to import one for them. Yes, Mom wants one. However, we have to wait until Dad retires so we can have a place big enough for one. That fish is as large as I am.

The Navy Ball was held at the Hyatt which is on top of a huge hill. The foyer for the grand ballroom is all black marble; very slippery and very cold stuff. So Mom and Dad are holding a conversation with an Air Force Colonel and his wife when this guy comes walking up demanding to know why there is a dog at “his” ball. We found out he was the event coordinator. He had an attitude problem and kept calling me a pet. Dad corrected him and told him I was “medically necessary”. He then asked what I do. Mom gave him the generic “I have a neurological condition” info. He later came up to us and apologized.

I got to meet the current MCPON (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy). He's the highest ranking enlisted man in the navy. There is only 1 of them at a time. MCPON West loves Beagles. He and Mom talked dogs for a bit before the whistle was blown for dinner. Turns out, he was the key speaker for the night. The Navy Ball has a lot more pomp than the Air Force one.

We ended up seated with a lot of the same people from the Air Force ball. I was happy to see Chief Wallace again. He's a big teddy bear and his soon-to-be wife wants to take me home.

Mom's first trip to the pain management specialist ended up with her getting facet joint injections. It didn't go well. First, she hates needles. Second, she has trust issues. Third, she had to lay face down with this heavy blanket thing over her head which made it hard to breathe. They used a fluoroscope to see where they were putting the needles. She is becoming sensitive to numbing agents. So no more lidocaine for her unless it is the dentist.

They replaced the elevators in our building. I was a little weirded out at first – it speaks to you in Korean.

The SUSLAK Christmas party was interesting. Unfortunately, Mom didn't get down to Osan to pick up my pimp suits before the big day. So I wore a collar cover that matched Mom's dress.

We celebrated Christmas early since Dad had to actually work on Christmas day. He had Christmas eve off. Mom had been sick with the crud so we hadn't been out much. We finally made it to the mail room to pick up my Snoops Secret Santa present. The Essig clan sent me a gift certificate for my favorite online supply company. Jeffers was out of the toy I really wanted, so I got a new pair of thermal pjs and a pair of boots.

The pawrents got me some cool stuff. I love the hide a bird plush set. Mom also had picked up one of the replacement packs of squirrels because they looked to be the right size for me to play fetch. They stuff into the birdhouse too. My other pressies were my “skinned” fox hide (it's longer than me), a nice plaid windbreaker, a selection of yummy liver treats, a box of turkey hearts, and another heavy coat (so I can put patches on it). The heavy coat is on back order.

I spent most of New Year's Eve locked in the bedroom. Mom had gotten up to go grab something from the bedroom when she hit a wet spot on the floor. She had one of those fleeting WTF moments and wondered if I had an accident then she hit another wet spot. The hall light revealed that it definitely wasn't me. She finally figured out it was coming from the spare room. She was trying to look up the maintenance number on-line when the doorbell rang. The downstairs neighbor had called it in.

I was placed in the bedroom due to the sheer number of people going in and out and the door being propped open. Mom had broke out her little bissle to get started on sucking up the water. They finally brought in an industrial strength one. All of the hall rugs ended up in the bathtub while Mom had a load of towels in the washer. Mom called Dad about the drama and asked him to grab some laundry supplies. Unfortunately, he was unable to grab her a sub sandwich, everything had closed early due to the holiday.


Shopping for Thanksgiving Dinner and a Trip to a Local- Market

December 27th 2008 3:04 am
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Tuesday, November 26th
While waiting for the shuttle, I alerted and wouldn't leave Mom alone until she took some meds. I couldn't get into her purse, so instead, I kept nudging it and pawing at her. We were going to get her third round of Botox.

We managed to catch the shuttle going home without having to wait an hour. It was one of those days where it was glaringly obvious that the next generation needs a swift kick in the butt. The bus was full of junior high and high school kids who have no concept of manners or common courtesy. Instead of doubling up (since each side has 2 seats) so that adults, especially adults with kids, can sit down, they all spread out then yell to one another. They are provided with bus runs between the schools and the housing area. If and when we have a kid, Mom swears it won't be allowed to act like that. She certainly wasn't. Mom decided we needed to get off at the commissary or she was apt to go postal. It was busy, but 100% better than a bus load of “Gimme” generation teens.

We were on the canned goods aisle when someone said, “Hello Scooter, I haven't seen you in awhile.” It was one of the ladies we met at the Air Force Ball. Mom had spoken with her at the end of the evening.

I did a really good job at hugging the aisles and the coolers. She was feeling a bit “off” from taking the meds earlier and totally forgot about my leash. We loaded up a lot of yummy stuff; I heard her mention lamb, liver, and beef heart. Yum!

We have a little cart aisle out by our building. Normally it has about a dozen carts that we can use to carry stuff up to our apartment. It was empty. Now, at that time of day, only one or two should be out. It isn't like you can leave one on a floor and it not be in the way; there is no place to hide on except IN an apartment. Mom had to carry all of our bags; luckily she had opted for the funny little green ones. I was glad nothing was dropped on my head.

Tuesday, December 2nd
The parents had honey ham for Thanksgiving along with sweet potatoes, butter beans, and apple pie. I did snag a taste of each, but lamb was my main meal. I've heard mention of Lima beans sometime this week; have to do something with the leftover ham; especially the stuff close to the bone. I like Lima beans.

Doc said Mom's head may feel heavy because he injected her entire neck. So far, it hasn't. It has just made her neck very, very spastic to the point her shoulders and the area in between hurt.

We had a “scheduled” power outage. That always makes things interesting. Today was a lot of work. Dad use to say Mom had hearing problems because you can speak to her and she will say, “Huh?” and before you can repeat yourself, it “sinks in”. She's had her hearing tested and it is actually fine. She's never really considered it a “processing problem” even though she's been diagnosed aspie. Today, it finally hit home.

We decided to go to DongDaeMun. Blue could use a larger tank and Mom likes to give him enrichment and she's been wanting to put some fish in with him. The ATM on the compound was down and the shuttle bus had just left. We decided to head out the front gate, over the pedestrian walk and had to pick the pace up the last 10 yards to catch the public bus. Mom actually got a seat; I sat between her feet. I was in “Rock Star” mode due to all of the stares. I got off the bus like a pro. (Got to be careful because it is a pain to get to the door while the bus is moving and then you have to be quick.)

It had rained last night, so Mom guided me around the puddles and carried me in the wetter spots. We got to base, got Won, and headed to the subway station.

On the way, we saw a protest on the other side of the street. There was about 30 protesters in this little sectioned off area and about 75 police officers lining the entrance to some government building. Mom took pics.

Mom had started feeling weird while we were on the way there. The subway station was a lot of work. In retrospect, it was the beginning of sensory overload and her trying to work with me as far as riding the escalators didn't help (but I did walk off of a couple by myself). By the time we got off the subway at the puppy district, it was pretty bad. (Yes, they have a puppy district. Store after store, most side-by-side, of Petland type places. If it is small, they probably have it in stock.) There is a supply store that Mom wanted to browse again. They don't sell puppies.

By the time we got to DongDaeMun, Mom was getting antsy. We had to walk past where they've tore down the stadium, so the sidewalk is about a foot wide and people were pushing (in normal Asian fashion). There was lots of noise and banging on the other side of the tin 'fence'. By the time we got past it, her nerves were shot and she was more or less just telling me to 'follow Dad' who was oblivious since he was walking ahead. He went through this food area without a backward glance. It smelled soo good, I couldn't help but to air scent a bit. With all of the noise, no one heard me snuffle. Plus a boy has to do what he has to do when trying to be a guide dog following someone through all of that.

Once we got onto the row of shops on the opposite side of the river as the fish and birds, Dad slowed down. I'm not sure if it was delivery day or if they just get in stuff before noon daily, but it was still pretty busy. Mom needed a drink and I needed a tree. I got my tree on the other side of the river.

Mom's plant place was closed. When Mom and Aunt Sharon had trekked here before, they found this fish store even further out of the way. At the time, Mom was impressed with a couple of their tank set ups and diversity of species; it had a “Mom and Pop” feel. We decided to find the store. We ran into the little black dog that bugged me before. She's had puppies since the last time I saw her. We also had a run-in with a little sweater wearing shaved ankle biter. Mom picked me up and Dad ran interference.

We found the store. The “Mom” was a trip. She showed my Mom the new betas she had just gotten. Crowns are new over here. Dad was content to let the women folk attempt a conversation. Mom asked about Plaquets (the plain-finned true fighting betas that look nothing like what most people are accustomed to seeing). They don't get them, but she asked her son if he knew where to get them. He spoke some English. You could see him wondering why Mom would want them since they are rather plain compared to the Veils and Crowns.

Mom bought some neon tetras and some more plants. At 500 won ( @ 38 cents at the current rate) each, it won't break the bank if Blue eats them. We went back and walked the row. Mom saw a tank she liked, but Dad didn't want to carry it home. (It would be an awesome cray tank. It was at least a 20gallon long. Area is more important than volume.)

The store where Mom bought Blue had some new crays. They were rock lobster size. Mom fell in love and really wanted that bigger tank so she could take the giant blue home. She needs to find out the Latin name; she wants one when we move back home. It was blue, but it had iridescent almost purple shades on its tail. It was big enough to eat.

Mom hit overload saturation and told Dad that we could just get a regular 10 gallon complete set on base. At that point, she just wanted out of the noise. At the time, she didn't know why she was feeling that way and she wasn't going to tell Dad that she really needed to hop a taxi.

Mom was really going on auto-pilot on the way back. The street noise just rubbed her the wrong way so Dad suggested her MP3 player. It helped a lot. She was able to concentrate on reading the subway LED sign to see the stops. I was still doing a lot of guide work going back to the subway and in the stations. Once we got back towards base, and we had wide open sidewalks, it was better.

We went to get the tank and the stock man said someone was complaining about me being in the store. Mom asked who (specifically) complained and he pointed them out. The younger 20-something chick actually approached us and starts with
“It's not fair. I can't have my dog in here.” to Mom.
“He isn't a pet.;he's a Service Dog.” Hello, I'm wearing a bilingual vest announcing it to the world.
“I don't care. I'm going to get a store manager.”
“Why don't you do that. Federal law says he is allowed in here.”
She stomps off. Go Mom.

We finally get home and the lights are still out (but we had running water). Dad washed the new rocks for Mom while she put Blue in a bow, pulled the filter and light, moved the tank out of the way and floated the Tetras in that tank. That water and rocks went into the 10 gallon since it had some sort of good bacteria going. Mom decorated it with the plants and Blue's “house”. He also got a golf ball. Mom had read about using it as enrichment. The goldfish got one as well.

We laid down once the lights came back. Mom was feeling icky and I was tired. I made her get up to feed me. Dad made sure she ate, then we laid back down. We didn't get around to looking through the spare room for my stocking. Dad suggested they each have one as well.

Wednesday, December 3rd
It was a down day for Mom. The sensory overload gave her a headache and the numbness in her face (cheeks) came back. She's also noticed that she's getting the pins and needles fire feeling in her hands, arms, chest, and back if she is late on her one med. She's not a fan of it and going off it in the past was bad. I can tell when some of it is happening. I tend to sniff her more. She's been really nauseas again. She and Dad had this long talk about him taking an active role in telling her when she's letting her headache go too long or when she goes down too fast.

Dad had to take her a couple of weeks ago because she had let things go WAY too long. She was to the point she passed out and hurt to the point she didn't want anyone near her. I stayed home; Dad couldn't handle both of us. Mom had a reaction to another IV nausea med which made things worse. At that point, she told Dad she needed me. He did his best to be her Service Person, but it isn't quite the same. When they finally got home, Dad fixed her some soup. Mom got sick again and I thought she was going to have to go back. She finally slept it off for the most part. I actually went to Dad when I needed to go potty.


Miscellaneous Catch Up

December 24th 2008 10:23 am
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Friday, November 14th
Ok, so Mom hasn't been updating my diary (she's been slacking off on typing) because she's felt soo craptastic. She's not sleeping well on the nights Dad works which messes with her headaches. We missed the air show, so no Black Hawk pics. We are determined to make it to the next one.

Mom had her outside Pain Management consult. It was one of those things where she had to leave me at home (which didn't help). She had to be at a building by the base hospital by 8:20 AM (when the bus schedule calls for a 7AM run). A van took her to the appointment. She hates not knowing where she's going (and since she didn't know which outside hospital it was, she couldn't map it out). Mom is weird about knowing where the closest subway station is located; she wants to be able to find her way home in case she decides to bail. The ride into the underground parking garage was like a roller coaster ride.

The specialist glossed over the medical records she took, did some poking and prodding that just about got him punched in the nose, then told her what he “thinks” is wrong. His cure-all consists of injections of the same thing she had an allergic reaction to when the neurologist did them (with the difference that the specialist wants to do them in between her C2 and 3 vs the occipital area). If he had bothered to READ her records he would have seen that. She tells him she's allergic. He wants to put her back on meds she's already tried (extensively). Again, if he would have bothered to read. She points that out. He says he has nothing to offer her after he tells her that her allergic reaction to both the steroid component of the injections and the NSAIDs isn't “life threatening”. Maybe not, but it isn't worth the pain of feeling like someone has beat you within an inch of your life and it isn't worth the hives or difficulty breathing either. Mom was like, “See ya.”

So, Mom was having an anxiety attack on the way back to base because she's tired of hurting and the crazy Asian driver wasn't helping. She's not depressed, just mentally and physically tired. She's equated it to making an eraser burn then keep on rubbing it, and rubbing it, and rubbing it. Pretty soon you just want it to stop hurting.

Mom sent Bretta back to the US. She got to the point that she didn't want anything else on her “plate”. So, Bretta is living with a friend who is into Schutzhund and is going to sessions with my old trainer. She will either eventually go help someone else or David will keep her, unless Mom decides she wants her back when we move home.

Dad has been getting us out to the movies. It is good for Mom and anything that makes her laugh works for me.

We've been back to DongDaeMun. The weather was nice; one of those days that wasn't too hot nor too cold. Nice enough that we could walk up the long sweeping low rise to the closest subway station without breaking a sweat. The sidewalk is nice and wide. I was ready for the challenge; it had been awhile since I had rode the subway. We had to change lines once and I was really good about laying parallel to the seat out of the way. People were smiling at me. There was some pointing and talking. Dad said it was the usual; small SDs aren't the norm.

We went down towards the fish and bird row. There are a couple of stores that Mom likes to shop. She can “haggle” even though she doesn't speak the language and they have sold her healthy fish and plants. The one store is off the main drag so we hit it first. Mom was looking through some live plants when a little dog came running at us. Dad and the lady who runs the place blocked so Mom could pick me up. Better to be safe than sorry. Telling it to “Git” in English was useless; it understood the Korean equivalent. Mom was having a hard time getting up really quick (bad knee) so it was good practice for my “Behind” command. Mom is considering a walking stick (to ward off dogs that are bigger or aren't easily scared off) but has to check out the local laws.

Mom got some more peace lilies and some short grass. Then we headed over to the other place. He has the healthiest crays of the two or three places that sell them; he's also got good prices on his tanks and lights. We got another 2.5 gallon rectangular tank and light. The goldfish need more area vs the tank they had. Blue climbed out and went AWOL, so Blue IV was chosen. (Remember, Blue I & II were bought together. They got into a fight and both died.) He had some bigger ones, so IV is huge. Mom was hoping that the saw grass type stuff she got would be impossible for him to climb. III climbed up a lily.

Mom's doctor appointment last week was funny. I broke a down/stay in the waiting area to greet the Korean nurse that always fawns over me (the one who wants kisses). I did stay on my mat, but I play postured at her and wagged my tail soo hard my butt was wiggling. She didn't take Mom's vitals; a different nurse got the job. She was full of questions; she had seen me greet my friend and couldn't get over how reserved I was with everyone else. I also took the opportunity to “speak” to the doc half way through the appointment.

I told Mom to pick me up. I laid down in her lap while they talked. Doc starts with calling me “Lassie”, so I showed him. I started “talking” (various vocal sounds, but never louder than a conversational tone; I don't yell indoors). He decides to play along and asks “Has Mom been sick?” I nod and start telling him all about it. “Where is she hurting?” I stand up and touch her head and keep talking. His eyes got big. Then I leaned forward towards him and gave him a piece of my mind before laying back down and giving him one of my looks. He asked if I was always that “articulate”. “Yep.” He's now a believer in my communication skills.

We made it to see Madagascar II. Mom figured I'd watch it with them since I like the first one. The penguins need their own feature. We were going to go see Quantum of Solace, but Dad wasn't feeling well. Mom thinks it is a sinus infection. We'll catch it later.

It has gotten too cold to go tracking so we've been working on off-leash heeling. She started by letting me loose in the elevator and then down the hall to our place. From there, it was from right before we got on the elevator to come upstairs, progressing further out to where now I come off lead on the breezeway. Some days Mom tells me to take the ramp, others the stairs. I have to wait until she tells me I can enter and exit the elevator (she holds the doors open). We have even done the 4 flights of stairs. With the number of kids in the building, there are tons of distractions. I've always been good about heeling if Mom drops my leash, but completely off-lead has always been taboo due to location and being a Beagle.

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